With Android Wear 2.0, Google switched to a new model that allows updates to be delivered through the companion app on the Play Store. Recent months have seen new features and tweaks, with the latest being a new dark theme and improved glanceability for notifications.

Over the past day, several users on Reddit have spotted their watches getting an update to Android Wear 2.8 with Google publishing (via Android Police) the release notes for the update just this morning.

  • This new update has improved notification glanceability with a new layout which shows more of your message at a glance.
  • We have also made the background darker for better readability.

The highlight of this particular update is a darker background “for better readability.” Some users have noticed that the old gray system background has been swapped out for a new black theme on the quick settings panel, notifications, app list, and Google Assistant.

The darker look particularly suits devices with AMOLED displays, though it’s not exactly clear which devices are gaining it. So far, only the Huawei Watch 2 has clearly received the black theme. Two reports note that the AMOLED Misfit Vapor on the latest update does not have the theme.

Meanwhile, it’s not clear if watches with LCD displays or even P-OLED (like the LG Watch Style) will get the darker theme as there are currently several reports of the old gray background remaining.

This update also makes notifications more compact, thus allowing users to view more of a message at a glance. Android Wear 2.8 is rolling out over the next few days via an update to the Wear companion app on the Play Store.


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