Google pushes Android Wear 2.0 back to early 2017

A new developer preview puts Google Play on smartwatches, but everyone else will have to wait longer to try it.

If you're champing at the bit waiting for your chance to try Android Wear 2.0 this fall, you're about to be disappointed. As part of the launch of a third Developer Preview, Google has revealed that the overhaul of its wearable platform won't officially reach smartwatches until early 2017. There should be at least one more preview release between then and now. It's more than a little unfortunate for smart wristwear fans, although it might be worth the wait given what Google is adding today.

You see, Developer Preview 3 is the first release to incorporate the Google Play Store. You can download apps (including paid titles and beta tests) directly to your watch instead of queuing them up on your phone. You can't browse to the same extent that you would on a handset, but you can skim recommended apps and search for specific titles. More importantly, you can download apps without sending them to your phone at all -- in fact, developers will have the option of writing apps that live exclusively on your watch. While you're still still a long way from Android Wear devices that are completely independent from your smartphone, the Play Store addition represents a big step in that direction.