Google’s augmented reality game Ingress just got a little more augmented, with a new update to the app rolling out today with support for Android Wear watches.
Dedicated users doing teardowns of each new release of the Ingress app have seen nascent Android Wear support coming for a while, but with today’s update – v1.81.0 for those of you keeping track – the watch interface has gone public.
Ingress’ Android Wear support is currently all hack and no attack, showing a scrollable list of portals either within or near your scanner range. This can be a boon if you’re in a portal-dense area as you’ll no longer need to fiddle with your scanner’s rotation and zoom to get at stacked portals, and it also means you can hack a little more inconspicuously in meetings. If there are no portals in range you’ll get a direction and distance to each portal in the list, making use of your watch’s compass.
After you hack a portal, you’ll get to see your hack results on the screen along with a timer that tells you how long it’s been since you last hacked a portal (important for farmers!). As long as the app keeps running, your timer will be correct. The Wear app supports “active” mode so that it can keep your watch display on, but doesn’t seem to support the low-power black and white display mode.
The UI isn’t perfect – it sometimes takes a while to update, the scrolling list of portals seems to change unpredictably as you move around, and the constant “radar” animation is a bit much, but it’s still a great start. Hopefully we’ll see some refinement to the UI, along with some inventory and attack controls added soon.
Like Ingress on your phone, it’s likely that Ingress on your watch is draining your battery about as much (my G Watch R’s battery is under 60% and it’s only 10am). However, as Ingress players we’ve pretty much surrendered battery life in exchange for portal hacking abilities, so this isn’t much of a surprise. Maybe it’s time to buy that spare charging cradle to charge your
watchscanner at your desk.
The v1.81.0 update is currently rolling out in the usual fashion (a random assortment of users get it first, and I was lucky enough to be in the initial batch this morning). If you haven’t got the update to the Ingress app yet, you can download it from APKMirror.
Have you hacked a portal from your wrist yet? Tell us what you think – and what else you’d like to see – in the comments.