Nick Youngson CC BY-SA 3.0 Alpha Stock Images (no changes made)[/caption]

Wear OS 5 Developer Preview: Improved UI, watch faces & more

Google’s Wear OS 5 Developer Preview has now been released into the wild. It confirms the features that were expected such as improved UI, new watch faces, running dynamics metrics and more. Additionally, the software should help extend battery life by around 20%.

There are no real surprises here, and all of this was expected. The news is that the software is now available to download. A public release should occur, probably towards the end of July or early August.

Enhanced user interface

One of the most noticeable changes is a new grid-based app launcher, offering an alternative to the traditional list view.This new launcher design aligns with familiar grid layouts found on many smartphone home screens. Users have the option to switch between the grid and list views in system settings, as per their preference.

Essential readingTop fitness trackers and health gadgets

Additionally, the update introduces a system UI for media output selection. It allows users to choose their preferred device for audio playback and media information display.

New watch faces

Wear OS 5 also introduces version 2 of the Watch Face Format. This update brings enhancements such as preset configurations called “Flavors,” goal progress complication type, weighted elements complication type, weather condition display, and a new heart rate system data source.

Here is a taster of watch faces designed with the new format.

Wearos 5 watch faces
Image source: Google

Privacy and security

Developers will find a privacy-preserving screenshot detection API inherited from Android 14, allowing apps to detect screenshots without accessing the image itself. This feature ensures user privacy while still providing developers with valuable information.

Running dynamics metrics

Health Services receives an upgrade with support for running dynamics metrics, including ground contact time, stride length, vertical oscillation, and vertical ratio. The company is playing a bit of catchup here. Many sports watches and Apple Watches already have this. They are mostly useful for those serious about their running pursuits.

Additionally, debounced goals are now supported for metrics such as heart rate, distance, and speed. The feature serves to reduce annoyances from uncnecessary alertstriggered when users momentarily exceed or fall below a set threshold during a workout.

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Marko Maslakovic

Marko founded Gadgets & Wearables in 2014, having worked for more than 15 years in the City of London’s financial district. Since then, he has led the company’s charge to become a leading information source on health and fitness gadgets and wearables.

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