At the tail end of August 2017, Google announced new policies designed to encourage developers to build standalone Android Wear applications and adopt the Google Play Developer Console’s multi-APK delivery feature. They were set to go into effect on January 18, but the search giant’s decided to postpone them due to unexpected issues with Android Wear 1.0 devices.
While some policies will go into effect as scheduled this month, one related to multi-APK for Wear applications is being delayed. Googler Hoi Lam said that some developers were reporting unexpected delays between the time they installed a phone app and the corresponding Wear app installs on Wear 1.0 smartwatches. As a result, Google will remove the “Enhanced for Android Wear” badge in the Google Play Store from apps that support Wear notification enhancements but don’t have a separate Wear app starting January 18, but won’t remove the badge from apps that don’t support multi-APK.
When the new policy was announced last year, Google said it’d deny the “Enhanced for Android Wear” badge to any application that packed the Android Wear APK inside of the phone application. The company wanted to encourage developers to use the new multi-APK feature, and iOS was cited as one of the reasons for the transition — Android Wear apps vetted by Google staff must contain apps that work on any Android Wear smartwatch, regardless of whether they’re paired to an iOS device or an Android device.
For now, Google’s following through with its other policy: It’ll only feature apps in the Google Play Store on Wear that are standalone, which is to say apps that don’t require a phone app to run. Mr. Lam said the team will continue to work on the multi-APK latency issue, and recommended that developers with apps that support both standalone and Wear 1.0 users upload the Wear APK separately.
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