Android Wear
Google now has a release date for Android Wear 2.0. Reuters/Robert Galbraith

Google launched Android Wear — Android OS's counterpart for smartwatches and other wearables — in March 2014. Last year, many were expecting for the second major update of the OS, but it did not arrive. Then, this week, the Mountain View-headquartered company surprised everyone by confirming the imminent of Android Wear 2.0.

On Wednesday, Google sent Google Play app developers a letter informing them about the launch of Android Wear 2.0. According to the tech giant, developers should expect the major smartwatch OS update next month. Though no specific date was indicated in the letter, the software is expected to arrive within the first week because Google stated “early February 2017.”

Engadget noted that the OS update was initially slated for release in late 2016. Unfortunately, Google decided to push back the release date to this year for some undisclosed reason and rolled out a couple of developer previews instead. The delay actually left LG, Lenovo and Huawei with no choice but to not release new wearables before the end of the year.

Apart from announcing the release of Android Wear 2.0, Google also informed app developers that it is launching a new on-watch Play Store. The feature is going to be helpful to users who want to discover more apps for their high-tech timepieces. Google warned that developers should update or optimize their apps for Android Wear 2.0, so they will be featured in the on-watch Play Store.

The Verge reported that optimizing apps for the upcoming major update would make them independent apps that can function on their own without a connected smartphone or WiFi networks. It can be noted that Google announced during the I/O developer conference in May of last year that Android Wear 2.0 would allow smartwatch apps to run in standalone mode.

The release of Android Wear 2.0 is also seen as a sign of the imminent launch of new Google flagship smartwatches. The tech giant announced last month that its new smartwatches will not carry the Google or Pixel branding. It’s possible that Google will introduce its new smartwatches alongside the release of the new OS.