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.

  • Now all they have to do is breathe life into Android Wear 😂😂
  • Absolutely true. I forgot I still haven't update the firmware for my OG Huawei watch. Forgot I even had it.
  • LOL agree. Personally I wish I could roll my watch back. Wear 2.0 and how notifications show up on the watch now (round face) leaves me just using the watch as a watch with fancy alarms. Not very useful to me anymore . . not sure why . . I just don't want to deal with the interfaces anymore.
  • I can't imagine there are many Android Wear 1.0 watches whose batteries last long enough to be useful at this point. My OG Moto 360 doesn't even last an hour, but on the charger without a band, it does make a nice night clock.
  • When did it start to go I've had mine since Xmas as was going ok still but I've just had to send it off to moto for repair as the screen got the yellow band around it. I still don't think any of the new ones look as nice as the moto 360
  • I bought mine on opening day, so it was a Fall 2014 purchase. I would say by the end of 2016 I wasn't getting a half day out of it, and by now it can't leave the charger.
  • I'm almost there after just shy of two years. I was getting to about mid-afternoon before it would conk out with anywhere between 25-35% battery remaining. I turned off ambient display and tilt to wake, and now I can usually stretch it to early evening. I might try replacing the battery, but you can only find them on eBay (at least in Canada).
  • Android 1.0 watches include devices all the way up to 1.5 My Sony Smartwatch 3 is almost 2 years old and it still lasts a day and a half just like it did new. I even use it more than my ZenWatch 2 on 2.0 again now
  • Yeah, that. My 360 got retired last year, when it would just quit with less than a full day of use. I haven't really missed any of it's features, except heart rate. Got a Huawei Fit about 3 months ago. It has its issues, and isn't a Android Wear device, but it goes about 5 - 6 days between charging.
  • I still have me Sony SW3, but it's sitting in a drawer. I'm now using a Huawei Watch 2, and I really enjoy it.
  • How can I work my smart watch topepop
  • Yawn... Wake me up when they figure out a way to get 2.0 to work on my moto 360 gen2
  • Dead after 11 months.... Pathetic!!!
  • Google blames the carriers for no updates but the fact that there's watches stuck on 1.0 says a lot.
  • As far as I'm aware, the only watches left on AW 1.0 are ones that wouldn't be able to run AW 2.0 . The first-gen Moto 360 didn't get the upgrade, but I believe the 2nd-gen did.
  • Supposedly... but it doesn't work.
  • Way too little way too late