In what appears to be a bid to improve the quality of apps available for Wear OS (previously known as Android Wear), Google has announced that all Wear OS apps submitted by developers will now go through a mandatory review processor before they’re listed on the Google Play Store. Google does have an existing review process for Wear OS apps, it has been there since Android Wear 2.0, but it was optional and not mandatory.
Google confirmed on its official blog that all apps for Wear OS will be required to go through the “lightweight app review process” starting October 1st, 2018. This will initially apply to all new apps. The review process will become mandatory for existing Wear apps from March 4th, 2019.
This change does nothing for the review process for mobile apps as it’s independent of the Wear app review. Google mentions that mobile app updates will not be blocked if they fail the Wear app review.
The company has also provided a list of review criteria that the app has to meet before it can go through the review process. The criteria include support for different screen types as Wear OS is available in both round and square screens as well as at least one Wear OS app screenshot for the Play Store listing.