The next version of Google’s wearable platform has now properly arrived and it will be experienced by more users in the coming months. Ahead of that, Google is introducing updated app quality guidelines for Wear OS 3.

These Wear OS 3 app quality guidelines start with “Basic compatibility” for notifications. This includes supporting the “MessagingStyle notifications for conversations” and direct replies.

Meanwhile, “Better: Full support for Wear OS” involves making sure apps are properly formatted to square and round display types, while making sure “text is large and glanceable.” That “Layout” guideline is accompanied by a “Functionality” mandate to have a “watch APK that runs directly on the Wear OS device” and is discoverable in the Wear OS Play Store with proper screenshots. Additionally: 

The app must mention Wear OS in its Google Play Store listing and contain at least one screenshot that depicts the Wear OS app experience. 

“Best: A differentiated experience” involves creating an independent app that does not require a phone companion for anything, including the initial sign-in and authentication process. 

Starting October 13, Wear OS apps will need to meet these notification, layout, and functionality quality requirements “to be published on Google Play.” Watch faces also have until that date to comply, mostly with the screenshot/listing guidelines. Google encourages testing on Wear OS 3 watches ahead of time.

Many developers are already meeting these requirements and won’t need to make many of these changes when migrating to Wear OS 3.0. 

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Abner Li

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