Google releases Android Wear API 23 SDK for Marshmallow

(Image Credit: iStockPhoto/maislam)

Developers are now able to start optimising their apps for an upcoming Android Wear update to ’Marshmallow’ thanks to Google's release of the API 23 SDK. The latest SDK allows developers to improve the experience for users, as well as offer better privacy. 

Android Wear, like its mobile counterpart, is available in various forms. When developing apps for Google's wearable platform you have to consider usage on both round and square devices which are being used by consumers. API 23 brings ‘-round’ and ‘-notround’ qualifiers which means it’s easier for developers to optimise apps for square and round watches.

Developers will be able to use the built-in speaker found on devices like the LG Watch Urbane 2nd Edition for playing sounds in their applications

The new qualifiers, along with existing tools for determining resolution of the display, will lead to a much better experience. In a post, Google explained: "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." 

One of the headline features of Android Marshmallow is the vast improvement to protecting a user's privacy. It achieves this using "granular permission" which allows the user to decide what parts of the hardware an application can use, and what information it can access, on a case-by-case basis. API 23 will allow developers to request access to what they need for their application to function as it's needed, and not before the app is installed. 

Some devices have been found to contain hidden speakers which are yet to be activated in Android Wear. As of API 23, developers will be able to use the built-in speaker found on devices like the LG Watch Urbane 2nd Edition for playing sounds in their applications. 

It's a shame there's still no support for NFC in this update for Android Pay, as it's an area which Google is being left in the dust by Apple (and even Samsung with the launch of their Tizen-based Gear S2 smartwatch!) 

What do you think about the features in Google's latest Android Wear SDK? Let us know in the comments. in hearing industry leaders discuss subjects like this and sharing their IoT use-cases? Attend the IoT Tech Expo World Series events with upcoming shows in Silicon Valley, London and Amsterdam to learn more.

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