It looks as if the next instalment for Android Wear is flying out over the airwaves as we speak, and while most changes appear to be fairly superficial, there’s some hints at what’s to come, thanks to some in-depth analysis over at Android Police.
The changes, which aren’t easily found, include the moving of the Cloud Sync toggle from the main screen to a new sub-screen which covers Privacy and Personal Data. Also to be found in this section is a new toggle for sending diagnostic information to Google. Scintillating stuff.
There’s a further option in the Settings screen which allows you to turn off tips about new watch features; these are great for users new to Android Wear, but if you’re well familiar with them, you can save yourself a bit of annoyance by simply turning these tips off. Honestly this seems to be a bit of a silly change, but nonetheless, it’s there.
A more disappointing change, for hardcore users at least, is the removal of battery stats. Under the settings for individual watches, an entry for Watch Battery used to show you some usage information about the connected Android Wear device; this is now gone. It makes sense for it to be gone, because with such a small battery and such a restrictive OS, there’s little a user can really do to change their battery life, but it was nice to see anyway.
Where it gets a little bit more interesting is what this version 1.4 app hints for the future. The changelog from within the app reads as follows:
– Ability to play sounds and take calls on watches with a speaker
– Support for sending WhatsApp, WeChat, Viber, Telegram, and Nextplus messages with your voice or via touch
– New gestures to control your watch with one hand
– Battery life improvements
– Language options for Mandarin, Cantonese, Indonesian, Polish, Dutch, and Thai
While at first glance this might not seem too exciting, read it again. The first bullet point reads “Ability to play sounds and take calls on watches with a speaker”. Audio support on Android Wear was always coming “some time”, but it seems that “some time” might now be “soon”; both the Huawei Watch and the LG Urbane 2nd Gen feature a built in speaker, and it looks as if you’ll soon be able to get all Dick Tracy with your watch and take calls just by talking and listening to your wrist.
The rest of the changes really aren’t too exciting, including amongst them some changes to gesture control for one-handed operation, and more language options.
If you haven’t received the new updated Android Wear app yet, you can download the signed APK from APK Mirror to get started early.