Android Wear got its last ‘big’ update last year, but the platform is moving ahead today with a host of new features announced by Google which will roll out to your wrist very soon.
First up is the big one, at least in terms of hardware updates: Wi-Fi support. Android Wear hardware supports Bluetooth, and in many (not all) cases Wi-Fi hardware as well, now Android Wear brings support for Wi-Fi too. Wherever there’s a Wi-Fi signal, you should be able to connect and search without your phone and even ask your watch where your phone is.
Android Wear is a very functional option for many people, who use their watch to run apps, but having the watch screen turn off while you’re in those apps is annoying, but that won’t happen any longer with the new ‘Always-on’ apps mode. The watch will recognise when you drop your wrist down, essentially when you aren’t looking at it, and drop the mode to a black/white view, but will launch back to full colour when you raise your wrist.
Google is also bringing a new way to access contacts and apps on your watch. When you tap the watch face, you will now get a three-dot style option showing three sub-menus, Apps, Contacts and the usual list of commands you see now. This in theory makes it easier to send messages, access apps and searches in one go.
There’s also a new wrist flick gesture which means you should in theory be able to read you notifications with out touching your watch.
Google is now also adding a drawing feature to Android Wear, but it’s limited to Emoji at the moment. You can now draw your favourite emoji ‘We’ll recognize your work (no art degree required)’. This may hopefully expand in the future to actually sending drawings, but sending emoji via SMS or Hangouts is a pretty good start.
Google advise that they will roll out the update to all seven Android Wear devices in the next few weeks. Google did mention that the first watch in line for the update is the LG Watch Urbane (The Android Wear version), so keep an eye out for more information on the launch of that device in the coming weeks.
Let us know if you see a prompt to update your Android Wear device, and take some pics or screenshots of the update.