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Google is pushing out some key updates for developers at its I/O conference this week. One of these is an enhanced battery saving mode that is being added to the developer build of Wear OS along with support for Actions.
Smartwatches, by their very nature, are small devices designed to rest comfortably on the wrist. With a case, touchscreen, buttons, chips and battery to squeeze in to such a small space, you can imagine that the physical size of the battery has to be as small as possible.
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Current batteries rely on old fashioned lithium ion technology which is much the same as it has been since the early 2000s. Until researchers come up with higher capacity batteries which charge faster, more often and are less prone to failure, we have to make do with what we have.
To this end, Google has introduced a new “power efficient watch face.” It shuts off radios, the touchscreen and tilt to wake. A quick press on the side button shows the date and time in large numeral, along with a red battery icon to indicate the mode. A longer press restores functionality.
Just ahead of I/O last week, Google has announced a few new features which should make getting help from the Google Assistant on your wrist easier. The company says upgrades to the Wear OS functionality are being introduced to cut down on the time people spend tapping and swiping. This includes smart suggestions to queries, audio replies to questions, and support for the vast library of Actions.
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