It wasn’t that long ago that smartwatches were poised to become the “next big thing.” Google announcedAndroid Wear, a version of Android optimized for wearables, in 2014. Multiple smartwatches were released that year, including popular ones like theMoto 360. But despite tens of millions in collective sales and uptake from luxury Swiss brands likeTag Heuer, Android Wear smartwatches have struggled to live up to the hype.
But that hasn’t kept Google from chipping away at it. On Wednesday, Googler Hoi Lam announced in a Google+ post that Android Wear devices will receive Oreo starting today. The timing’s up to each individual manufacturer, Mr. Lam said, which means that not all supported watches will get it at once. But someLG G Watch owners reported seeing an update as early as Wednesday night.
Here’s what’s new in the Android Wear Oreo update:
Though smartwatches have their uses, sky-high price tags and a nascent app ecosystem has kept them from breaking into the mainstream. Most tech press seems to agree: They’re convenient for a particular subset of users, but they’re not indispensable.
That’s one reason the Android Wear platform’s languished after a promising 2014, its first year on the market. Manufacturers continued to release smartwatches in 2015, but the number dipped in 2016 after Google repeatedly pushed back the release Android Wear 2.0.
Despite Android Wear’swaning popularity, Google remains committed to it as a platform. The search giant releasedversion 2.0 alongside theLG Watch Sport and the LG Watch Style in February, which brought much-neededimprovements to the platform.