Google breathes new life into old Android Wear watches with new Play Store policies

Google has announced two major changes for Android Wear apps: Multi-APK apps are now supported for Android Wear 1.0 watches and requirements for the "Enhanced for Android Wear" Play Store badge have changed.

Multi-APK apps are apps hosted in Google Play that have separate files for your phone and your watch. Previously, only Android Wear 2.0 watches supported multi-APK apps, but now users with older watches like the Samsung Gear Live will be supported. Multi-APK apps are designed to save space on your phone because the files are smaller, and watches with their own data connection can run them without being tethered to the handset.

The second announcement covers the Play Store policy for apps to receive the "Enhanced for Android Wear" badge and placement in the store listings. Starting today, apps that fall into the following categories will no longer be eligible for the Android Wear badge consideration:

  • Mobile apps that support Wear notification enhancements but do not have a separate Wear app
  • Wear apps that are bundled with mobile apps instead of using multi-APK

The announcement also points developers towards the assets they need to convert their apps into multi-APK listings.

While we don't see daily news about Android Wear, it's great to know that the platform is active and Google is taking steps to make it even better. Wearables have proven to be a tough market for every company making them, but great hardware like the LG Watch Sport will allow for even more innovation and the future will have computers on our wrists.

Jerry Hildenbrand
Senior Editor — Google Ecosystem

Jerry is an amateur woodworker and struggling shade tree mechanic. There's nothing he can't take apart, but many things he can't reassemble. You'll find him writing and speaking his loud opinion on Android Central and occasionally on Twitter.