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Google improves text-to-speech (TTS) engine for Wear OS 4 devices

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Wear OS School time feature

Google‘s Wear OS 4 devices are getting a new text-to-speech (TTS) engine, which promises to be faster and more reliable than the previous version. The new TTS engine is designed to work well on low-memory devices, such as the Pixel Watch and the Galaxy Watch 6, which have only 2 GB of RAM.

The new TTS engine of Wear OS 4 supports over 50 languages, with seven of them pre-loaded in the system image including English, Spanish, French, Italian, German, Japanese, and Mandarin Chinese. Users can also download other languages when they connect their watch to Wi-Fi and charge it.

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According to the information (via 9to5Google), the new TTS engine can synthesize speech in about 10 seconds after the device is booted, and apps can pre-load it if they need immediate access. The speed improvement is due to the use of smaller and more efficient machine learning (ML) models for prosody.

The new TTS engine can be integrated into Wear OS apps using the same Android APIs as before. It can be used for various purposes, such as accessibility services, exercise coaching, navigation, and reading-aloud notifications. However, Google mentioned that the TTS engine is not meant for long texts, such as articles or podcasts.

Wear OS 4 TTS

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Wear OS

Google Play Services update adds Apple Watch-like feature to Wear OS

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Wear OS School time feature

Google has introduced the ‘School Time’ feature to Wear OS smartwatches through the latest Google Play Services v24.18 update. This new feature allows parents to control their child’s smartwatch usage during school hours.

According to Android Authority, parents can limit the apps their child can use and silence the device to prevent distractions with ‘School Time’. This new feature helps to manage children’s technology use in their daily lives.

The functionality of ‘School Time’ is similar to the ‘Schooltime’ feature on the Apple Watch, which also restricts app usage and enables DND (Do Not Disturb) mode during set times. However, it’s not clear whether Google’s version will include options for breaks or emergency calls like Apple’s does.

It is also yet to be confirmed whether all Wear OS smartwatches will support the ‘School Time’ feature, or if it will only be available on recent models. Nowadays, as smartwatches have become more common for children, features like ‘School Time’ are important to encourage the proper use of technology.

Wear OS School time feature

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Google Maps revamps Wear OS Tile for smarter navigation

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Samsung Accessory Service May 2024 update

Google Maps has updated its Wear OS Tile to enhance navigation for wearable device users. The fresh update introduces a direct shortcut to the map view to make it easier for users to access maps and transit information quickly.

With the new update, the Search button has been replaced with a Map button, allowing users to access the map view directly. This view not only shows locations but also serves as a simple compass, a feature not available on the Pixel Watch.

Previously, the Google Maps app Tile included a Search button that opened the app’s main feed and showed recent searches and nearby points of interest on Wear OS devices. But now, you can directly go to the map view.

Users can tap on locations for details and see transit stop schedules. To exit the map view, there’s a close button on the left side. This new change enhances the user experience on Wear OS devices, providing more efficient ways to navigate.

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Google to unveil Wear OS 5 at I/O 2024 event

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Wear OS School time feature

Google’s upcoming developer conference, Google I/O 2024, is expected to introduce Wear OS 5. This new version is anticipated to bring significant improvements to the platform, focusing on user experience and app development.

Based on Android 14, Wear OS 5 will include a redesigned Watch Face Format. This format aims to optimize watch faces to make them more efficient and adaptable to various screen sizes. This is especially relevant as the market sees an increase in smartwatch dimensions, highlighted by rumors of a larger Pixel Watch 3 model.

For developers, Wear OS 5 is set to offer enhanced tools that simplify the process of creating apps for different watch sizes. While details are still forthcoming, the update hinted at in the I/O schedule suggests that Wear OS 5 will be a significant step forward in the evolution of Google’s wearable technology for a better smartwatch experience.

Aside from this, Google will soon release an OS-level upgrade to Android TV and Google TV to explore user experience improvements. Also, the integration of Compose for TV and Android Studio tools is ready to simplify the creation of visually appealing TV apps.

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