Google has announced a new version of its Android Wear software, called Android Wear 2.0, and with it announced two fitness-related updates: automatic activity tracking and a Google Fit data exchange API. The announcement was made at the Google IO event.
“We know that the most important role of your watch is helping you stay connected to what matters — to important timely information, to the people you love, and to your health, all from your wrist,” Google VP of Engineering David Singleton said at the Google IO event.
He added that the company is improving Android Wear’s fitness experience with automatic activity recognition. Earlier today, Fitbit announced that its app will include a similar feature for Google phones. The app update, which is for Google’s Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P devices, uses the Android Sensor Hub to automatically track movement without using a lot of power.
Singleton also said that the user’s apps can now exchange data using the Google Fit API so data like calories consumed in a nutrition app can sync with calories burned in a running app. This kind of fitness and health data exchange was a feature Apple's HealthKit launched with in 2014.
Another feature new to Android Wear 2.0 is standalone apps. Users no longer need their phone nearby to use watch-based apps. Android Wear watches can sync data using cellular, Bluetooth, or WiFi.
“When you want to go for a run you can just go with the watch you’re already wearing, no need to strap your phone in an awkward arm band,” Singleton said. “And thanks to the hardware sensors on your watch and automatic activity recognition, apps like Strava will start tracking your time and distance when you start running.”