Android smartwatches are getting Spotify’s AI DJ, WhatsApp and updated Google apps
Google is updating Wear OS to bring new features, apps and app experiences to its smartwatch OS platform, the company announced today at its Google I/O developer conference. The features, coming later this year, include improvements to Google’s own first-party apps, like Gmail, Calendar and Home, as well as new and improved apps from third parties, like WhatsApp, Peloton and Spotify.
The company last refreshed the Wear OS platform two years ago, then partnering with Samsung on a unified platform. This latest update isn’t quite as extensive, but it does include a range of improvements across the broader Wear OS app ecosystem.
This includes updates to Google’s own apps, like Google Home, which will now gain new smart home controls that let users control their smart locks with additional security, via two-factor authentication. Users will be able to control their locks and other devices that have an assigned PIN, as well.
Gmail for Wear OS, meanwhile, will be updated later this year to bring new features focused on inbox triaging and replying to emails from your watch’s small screen.
Also later this year, Google Calendar’s app will gain features like expanded access to your upcoming schedule (what’s coming next), event details with support for actions (e.g., RSVP, delete and navigation), and Tasks with actions (mark as complete and delete).
Elsewhere, in the third-party app ecosystem, Google announced a handful of updates to apps like WhatsApp, Spotify and Peloton.
WhatsApp will come to smartwatches for the first time with its Wear OS release — a bit of notable snub toward Meta’s rival Apple. (The two companies have been at odds since Apple’s release of “do not track” features for iOS which impacted Meta’s business.) The new WhatsApp smartwatch app will allow users to securely send and receives messages and keep up with their chats from their wrist.
Spotify’s Wear OS app will be getting an update that brings support for new tiles, the ability to play new episodes from favorite podcasts or see what’s in your heavy rotation, and use Spotify’s new AI DJ right from your watch.
Peloton’s app is also gaining support for tracking with Peloton equipment-based workouts and a new tile that will let users view their weekly workout progress at a glance.
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