Improvements in Android Wear 2.0 vs. 1.5

Related: Manual update Android Wear 1.5 to 2.0

New Android Wear 2.0 functionality

Android Wear 2.0 is a definitely worthwhile upgrade, whether keeping your existing watch or buying new. Wear 2.0 fixes some (but not all) of the worst issues with Wear 1.5.

Watch Bluetooth LE switchable

Android Wear 2 allows easy turn off of the watch Bluetooth and Bluetooth LE (BLE). This means the watch doesn’t search for the phone over BLE, saving battery. This could be useful for users that leave their phone deliberately behind for jogs and the like. I don’t see a need to do this, but it’s nice to have the control.

Find my Phone works over LTE in Wear 2.0

This is a huge advantage over Wear 1.x–if you have a large home or office where you could be out of Bluetooth LE range, with Wear 2.0 you can use Find My Phone to make your phone ring over LTE, Wifi, and Bluetooth. With Wear 1.x only Bluetooth would allow Find My Phone, which meant in a large office or home you might be out of range and you had to wander all over to get in Bluetooth range so that you could make the lost phone ring.

Blackberry Hub+ and Android Wear 2.0

I did not have any difficulties with Blackberry Hub+ in Android 7. By tapping on an email notification in Wear 2.0, you get the first five lines or so of the email, instead of only one or two lines like in Wear 1.x. This is very nice as I get a better sense of what someone is emailing me about instead of just that they emailed me starting with the usual greetings.

Uber standalone works great on Wear 2.0

Assisted by the GPS (or LTE/Wifi based location on non-GPS Wear 2.0 watch), the standalone Uber app is one of a growing fleet of standalone Wear 2.0 apps that work great from the watch, even if you forgot your phone or the battery died. I believe this Uber standalone app will save lives and improve safety for those with a dead phone who otherwise might be stranded and have to find a riskier way home–instead they can use Uber from their watch alone.

Android Wear 2.0 security

Android Wear 2.0 is still deficient in device security as was 1.x.

  • Email: As with Android Wear 1 unless you put a special app on Wear, you can only read and reply to email someone sends you. You can’t start a new email from the default Wear app (including Blackberry Hub+)
  • Google Keep: Can read all notes
  • Hangouts/Skype: can read prior messages and calls

Android Wear 2.0 WiFi WPA-EAP (RADIUS)

WiFi WPA-EAP WAPs as used in corporate networks (or excellent home networks) require the Wi-Fi Manager appfour app. Android Wear 2.0 won’t connect to WAP-EAP without a third-party app.

Consider the security implications of entering your 802.1x password into a third-party app! Particularly if your institution has a single signon (SSO), you could be making a major security risk–don’t enter such a password into a third-party app.

Android Wear 2.0 has no device encryption

Android Device Policy, which is a BYoD-focused app does not allow your device to use your work email as the primary account if your administrator requires encryption, as they probably will. Solution: Just use a personal gmail.com address as the primary device address, just like you did with Android Wear 1

Android Wear 2.0 login security

Wear 2.0 does let you set PIN, Password, or Swipe pattern. Android Wear for better security should force you to unlock your phone with password and then reauthorize the watch after say 3 or 5 failed attempts to unlock Wear. Right now after 3 failed attempts with Wear, you get locked out for 1 minute. This is not secure enough in my opinion, and should be at least made an option.

Leave a Comment