In the early days of Google’s wearable platform, smartwatch apps had been bundled with their telephone counterparts. Android Wear 2.0 moved to a standalone app mannequin as a part of introducing the on-device Play Store. Google now plans to deprecate that legacy method to Wear OS apps subsequent month.
With Android Wear 2.0, Google got down to make its wearables extra unbiased and able to undertaking duties with out having to make use of the paired telephone. One strategy to obtain this was by means of an on-watch Play Store that allows you to immediately browse for and set up apps.
However, Google allowed builders to maintain utilizing the unique methodology the place telephone app downloads included a watch model that will then be transferred to the wearable. Today, this legacy embedded app mannequin has “restricted discoverability” on the Wear OS Play Store.
Such apps don’t present up in search, can’t be featured in app clusters throughout the shop, and might solely be put in by way of the “Apps in your telephone” part of the on-watch Play Store. Additionally, utilizing the legacy embedded mannequin provides extreme bloat to the APK that’s downloaded onto a consumer’s telephone, whether or not or not they personal a smartwatch.
Google is abandoning this method on March tenth when these legacy Wear OS apps will not seem within the “Apps in your telephone” part — as seen within the cowl picture above. In being successfully undiscoverable, finish customers received’t be capable to set up these functions on the watch, which is the case for sure sideloaded instruments.
Developer Malcolm Bryant first raised this subject at the moment (by way of Android Police) and famous the way it’s “going to get harder to put in a number of of my utility apps.”
This implies that for customers to put in WearOS apps from outdoors the Play Store, they must undergo hoops resembling utilizing ADB over wifi. Most non-technical customers received’t trouble.
Google advises builders to change to the multi-APK mannequin, whereas reiterating its “ongoing dedication and funding in additional development of the Wear OS platform” from the day that Made by Google introduced it was buying Fitbit.
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