Google has released API 23 SDK for Android Wear, which means developers can now start optimizing their smartwatch apps for Android Marshmallow. Once apps are updated, it means they’ll be able to take advantage of a number of new Android features, and they’ll be better at automatically detecting if they’re being displayed on a round or square watch face…
With API 23, Android Wear developers will be able to include more granular permission controls, much like Android Marshmallow. This will enable users to allow permissions to certain features and services — like your phone’s location — as and when the app needs it. Not right at the beginning, before the app is even installed. Exercise apps, as an example, will ask for access to location the first time you try tracking a run. If you’re a developer, you can read up on what you need to learn to enable this feature in Google’s Permissions and Android Wear guide.
As well as the new permissions control, API 23 for Android Wear also brings ‘-round’ and ‘-notround’ qualifiers. In non-geek language, that basically means it’s easier for developers to optimize apps for square and round watches. Devs will be able to combine this with the existing tools that help determine what resolution they use to display the image based on the watch’s pixel density.
We listened to your feedback and added new resource qualifiers for -round and -notround, so you can use the resource system to load the appropriate images, layouts, and strings based on the type of watch you are working with. You can also combine this with existing resource qualifiers -hdpi, -tvdpi, -280dpi, and -360dpi for the various Android Wear watches that are currently available.
For now, the other two improvements are watch model-specific. For instance, adding sounds to Wear apps to take advantage of the built-in speaker currently only found in the LG Watch Urbane 2nd Edition LTE. Developers can use the same APIs used for Android phones to play audio files on the watch. What’s more, API 23 also brings support for the Intel x86-based processors. At this moment, that’s just the newly released TAG Heuer Connected watch, but more watches will be using this chip makeup in future.
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