Google releases Android P developer preview for Wear OS

About two weeks after Google rebranded Android Wear as Wear OS, the company is now releasing the first Android P developer preview for its smartwatch platform. This first preview is intended to be used exclusively by developers and not for regular daily use, but it does give us a glimpse of what Google's cooking up.

First off, one of the biggest user-facing changes is a slightly tweaked user interface. Menus and gestures will remain the same, but Google's adopting a darker background for menus and the notification panel. Some watches were updated with this new look with Wear OS 2.8 back in January, and going forward with Android P, this will be the default look for all devices.

To improve battery life, Android P is introducing a couple big changes to Wear OS. Wi-Fi will automatically turn off when your watch is connected to your phone via Bluetooth and apps will no longer be able to run in the background unless your watch is charging. Watch faces and complications will be the only exception to this rule, and Google notes that both of these features will be rolled out to Wear OS "gradually."

This is the very first developer preview, and as such, not ready for daily use.

In another attempt to extend the time between charges, Android P will also automatically disable Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and any cellular radios when your watch has been off your wrist for "an extended period of time."

Last but not least, Google also notes that "To improve app compatibility, Android P has started the process of restricting access to non-SDK methods and fields."

There's currently no timeline for Android P's public launch for Wear OS, but if it lines up with Android P for phones and tablets, we should see it launch at some point in August. If you're a developer or someone that doesn't mind running buggy software, the Android P preview is available now for the Bluetooth versions of the Huawei Watch 2 and Huawei Watch 2 Classic.

Wear OS by Google officially replaces Android Wear

Joe Maring

Joe Maring was a Senior Editor for Android Central between 2017 and 2021. You can reach him on Twitter at @JoeMaring1.

  • Huawei Watch 2 Sport. Love be this watch. Perfect size. Great battery life too.
  • How is it on daily use?
  • I really did like my time with Android Wear and I don't want a Tizen phone, but none of the AW watches I tried compares to my Gear S3. Glad they are still fixing issues, but I don't recommend anyone who asks to look at an AW watch anymore.
  • I returned my gear S3 for the LG Watch sport and have never looked back. Being locked into Sammy messenger etc. Was a killer for me. I use Hangouts more then anything and being tizen, I could get notifications only and not really interact with the Google apps. I now have a stand alone Hangouts app, along with my other google apps that I use 90 times a day lol. The only thing that was a bit better on the gear S3 was the battery life. That being said, at the end of a full day, I'm still at 65-70% on the LG.
  • I won't get a Wear OS watch until Google releases a Pixel Watch.
  • A Pixel watch would be nice. It would also help sell more Pixel phones.
  • I have no issues with my Huawei Watch original. Battery has always lasted all day. I usually have 40% left at the end of the day. I supposed if I didn't have my screen on always on I could go 2 days. I wish it was on the latest OS tho.
  • A quick question, how is your charging pins on the watch? any signs of corrosion on any of the gold points? My first watch, one of the pins corroded so charging was a hit an miss, lucky it still had a couple of months under warranty left. Huawei replaced the watch with a new one no question asked, and fast forward to almost a year since they replaced the watch, now I can see the corrosion started to happen again.
    The watch never sees water and on hot days I normally give my wrist and watch a wipe down if I'm sweating, the only time I don't wear the watch is when taking a shower/washing dishes and on charge at night.
  • I hope the preview comes to the LG Watch Sport. I've been very happy with it and I'm glad they are continuing to develop for Android Wear... er, I mean Wear OS.