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(Pocket-lint) - Google has release the third preview of Android Wear 2.0 for developers and announced it is delaying the software's official launch for consumers.

Earlier this month, reports claimed LG, Lenovo, and Huawei aren't planning to release new Android Wear smartwatches in 2016, which seemed to imply they are in no hurry to put out new hardware, as consumer demand is reportedly not so demanding. Google was expected to unleash Android Wear 2.0 this autumn, but with no new smartwatches out to run it or even demo it, many wondered if that would affect the software's launch.

The Mountain View, CA-based company has now confirmed the overhaul of its wearable OS won't officially release for smartwatches until early 2017. To soften that blow however, Google revealed that the new third developer preview includes the Google Play Store, meaning the software will eventually let you download apps directly to your watch instead of queuing them on your phone.

So, with this Play Store integration, you'll be able to download paid titles and beta tests, browse recommended apps, and search for specific apps. You'll be able to download them without having to send them to your phone, too, as developers can now develop apps that live just on the watch.

Beyond the Play Store, Android Wear 2.0, which Google announced at I/O 2016 in May, is a major update that'll bring a new user interface, widgets called "complications" for watch faces, a new keyboard for messaging, and more.

Google neglected to provide a specific 2017 release date for Android Wear 2.0.

Writing by Elyse Betters. Originally published on 29 September 2016.