Google was originally expected to release the next major version of Android Wear late this year, however a recent post from the company has revealed the smartwatch operating system has been delayed until early 2017.

The Android Wear 2.0 developer preview program will continue throughout the rest of this year and in to 2017, with watches set to get the final build early next year. Google announced the availability of the third developer preview several days ago, and the company says another developer preview will be released before the update is sent to OEMs.

In the third developer preview, Google has added the Play Store to Android Wear 2.0. It may seem a little cramped, however users can now browse and install apps directly from their watch, rather than using the equivalent app on their smartwatch. Searching for apps is as easy as using voice commands, the tiny Android Wear keyboard, or handwriting.

The Play Store on Android Wear also allows you to install only the watch app, provided the app supports this feature of Android Wear 2.0. This prevents apps you only use on your watch from clogging up the app tray on your smartphone.

The choice to delay Android Wear 2.0 until next year seems to fit with the plans of major Android Wear OEMs such as LG, Motorola and Huawei, who decided to hold off releasing any new smartwatches during the fall. In early 2017 we could see a major relaunch of Android Wear complete with new devices running the updated operating system.