Google just announced the biggest update to their smartwatch operating system, appropriately called, Android Wear 2.0.
The release contains a ton of new features and changes the UI pretty significantly in some respects supposedly making the device a lot more intuitive and more of a “standalone device”. From a more functional UI, to better notifications, to a keyboard on the watch face, to the ability to download apps directly to the device (instead of having bundled Wear apps that come with the “real” app you download on the phone), it’s an update that could have a significant impact on how you use Android Wear (and, of course, how other smart devices evolve since other companies will follow suit in their own ways).
If all of this sounds fantastic, and you want to get Android Wear 2.0 a try on your smartwatch this very minute, you’re in luck.
In addition to the announcement of Android Wear 2.0, Google also released the developer versions of the OS for a few popular smartwatches and so long as you don’t mind a little quick flashing of the software, you can install them right now.
Supported Smartwatches (At The Moment)
At the moment of writing this, Google has released the developer preview of Android Wear 2.0 for the following two watches. You must have one of these to flash the OS (for now).
- LGE Watch Urbane 2nd Edition
- Huawei Watch
How to Install Android Wear 2.0 Developer Preview
If you have one of the above watches, we can go ahead and flash the firmware onto it using good old ADB, or the Android Debug Bridge (the software developers use to communicate with a device while testing).
Enable ADB Debugging
First we need to enable USB debugging on the watch so it’ll allow ADB to talk to it, etc.
- On the watch, head to Settings > About > and keep tapping on Device Build until it tells you you are a developer.
- Then swipe back and tap on the new Developer Options under About.
- Tap on ADB Debugging and then select the checkmark to accept it.
Setup ADB on the Computer
So after you have ADB debugging enabled on the watch, head to my how to install ADB tutorial (it’s short and has a video to help, don’t worry), complete it with the watch plugged in via USB from the charger to your computer and once you can see the serial number after typing adb devices, head back here to continue.
Flash Android Wear 2.0
Now that all of that is setup, we can actually flash the new software. First, download the software you need for your particular device from Google’s site and make sure to select the “preview image for testing” for your specific device.
From my mirrors here:
Or from Google’s own site.
Extract the file and save the .img file to the same folder as adb is (so, if you followed my tutorial I linked to above for Windows, for example, it’ll be in C:/adb).
Now, keep the command prompt open from the how to setup ADB tutorial and the device plugged in and type the following into the command prompt (or Terminal if using Mac and just put a ./ in front of each command) with hitting enter at the end of each line.
adb reboot bootloader
fastboot oem unlock
After that, open the directory where adb and the img file is and double click the flash-all.bat file (or flash-all.sh for Mac) and wait for it to flash the device.
After that, go through the setup process and you’re all set. If you ever want to undo it, just head to Google’s site again and download the “non-preview image” and flash it to the watch in the same way you flashed the preview image but skipping fastboot oem unlock above.
Enjoy and let me know what you guys think! Full video Android Wear 2.0 walkthrough coming ASAP! Subscribe to my social networks for updates!