Pixel Watch 2 brings new safety features and more with Wear OS 4 update

Google has announced that the Pixel Watch 2, the second generation of its smartwatch, will be running on Wear OS 4, the latest version of its wearable operating system. The Pixel Watch 2 will also bring some new safety features and other improvements to the original Pixel Watch, which will receive the Wear OS 4 update later this year.

Wear OS 4: A new platform for wearable devices

Wear OS 4 is a result of a collaboration between Google and Samsung, which aims to create a unified and optimized platform for wearable devices. Wear OS 4 is based on Android 13, and offers several capabilities that make it easier to develop dependable, helpful wearable experiences.

Pixel Watch 2 brings new safety features and more with Wear OS 4 update
Pixel Watch 2 brings new safety features and more with Wear OS 4 update

Some of the new features and improvements in Wear OS 4 include:

  • Watch Face Format: A declarative XML format that lets developers design the appearance and behavior of watch faces without any executable code. The Wear OS platform takes care of the logic needed to render the watch face, which means better performance and battery life.
  • More seamless data transfer: Users can transfer data from one Wear OS watch to another using a cloud backup and restore process. They can also transfer their watch to a new phone without needing to perform a factory reset on the watch. Developers can customize the set of files in their app that the system should include in a cloud backup, so that users only restore app data that’s meaningful to them.
  • Enhanced Tiles: Tiles are widgets that provide quick access to information and actions from apps on the watch. Wear OS 4 offers enhanced capabilities for tiles, such as support for platform data bindings and animations, so that developers can provide more responsive experiences to users.

Pixel Watch 2: A smartwatch with safety in mind

The Pixel Watch 2 is the first device to ship with Wear OS 4, and it showcases some of the new features and capabilities of the platform. One of the main focuses of the Pixel Watch 2 is safety, and Google has added three new features to the original Pixel Watch with the Wear OS 4 update.

  • Emergency Sharing: This feature allows users to send their real-time location to predefined contacts in case of an emergency. Users can set what information is shared ahead of time, such as phone call status, low battery level, or medical notes. This feature can be activated by opening the Personal Safety app on the Pixel Watch.
  • Safety Check: This feature allows users to create a check-in timer that will automatically share their location with emergency contacts if they don’t cancel the countdown. Users can decide to let their contacts know when they start or cancel a Safety Check or only notify them if they don’t respond at the end of the timer. This feature also escalates to an Emergency Share if needed. This feature can also be triggered from Personal Safety.
  • Medical information: This feature allows users to add medical information to their Pixel Watch that emergency responders can access by long-pressing on the crown. Users can add information such as date of birth, blood type, allergies, medications, address, or organ donor status. Google also sells a $9.99 Medical ID Tag that users can affix to a band.

These features join the existing Emergency SOS and Fall Detection features that are already available on the Pixel Watch. However, some features are exclusive to the Pixel Watch 2, such as Safety Signal (which requires Fitbit Premium) and Emergency contact dialing.

Pixel Watch 2: A smartwatch with more than safety

The Pixel Watch 2 is not only a smartwatch with safety in mind, but also a smartwatch with more features and capabilities than its predecessor. The Pixel Watch 2 has a new chipset that supports ultra-wideband (UWB) technology, which enables precise location tracking and proximity sensing. The Pixel Watch 2 also has support for seamless updates, which allow users to update their OS in the background while the old version is still running.

The Pixel Watch 2 also supports some of the new features and improvements that are coming to Wear OS 4 later this year, such as dynamic theming, Auto Call Screen (which requires a Tensor-powered phone), and updated Tile designs. Additionally, the Pixel Watch 2 has access to apps like Gmail, Google Maps, Google Pay, Spotify, YouTube Music, and more.

The Pixel Watch 2 is expected to launch this month at Made by Google event, along with other devices such as the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro phones. The original Pixel Watch will receive the Wear OS 4 update later this year.

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