Google has issued Google Mobile Services (aka Google Play Services) 10.0 for Android Wear.
This release has significant performance optimizations for the first-gen Moto 360. Everything from voice searches, to results, seems to work a lot better now.
This is interesting, considering that the first-gen Moto 360 is one of the only devices left behind at Android Wear 1.6 with Android 6.0.1 as the base operating system. It appears Google will continue to update these platforms, similar to how they update GMS for older Android phones and tablets that do not receive the latest operating system.
Because Android Wear is closed-source, some of the beamed-down updates extend beyond what you might normally associate with Google Play. For example, the Settings update was refreshed, and is a bit more smooth. The Power Off option has now been moved right above the About button (at the very bottom). This makes turning the device off easier, because you just flick to the bottom of Settings, then tap up once to select Power Off.
But my favorite improvement has been voice search. I basically gave up on the Moto 360 as a true smartwatch, and only used it for the Secret Agent watchface. Which, aside from being the best watch face ever, also gives you instant battery status for both your paired phone and watch, as well as agenda overview. So it’s very functional.
But with the latest update, I can now easily, reliably, say “Okay Google…” and I don’t have to pause. I can naturally just say the rest of the request, and get an on-screen result.
I suspect the Moto 360 is benefitting specifically from this update due to further OMAP3-benefitting optimizations in the Google Mobile Services frameworks and code. This could indicate that Google may be aiming to run Android Wear on lower-powered processors in the future. The OMAP3 is far less powerful than the mainstay Snapdragon 400 (operating in single-core mode), that Google has tapped primarily. Much of this was due to Motorola having done most of its prior Android smartwatch development on the OMAP, and Google accommodating the processor for that reason – despite TI having previously announced sudden plans to exit the Android market.
I will give many props to Google for this update, it has breathed new life into a watch that I was looking to replace upon Android Wear 2.0’s release… but I still hope that Google open-sources Android Wear, so that the struggling platform can benefit from open innovation; the very thing that made Android and AOSP successful in the first place.