Just as Apple watch goes on sale Google has announced a major Android wear software update. The update, announced Monday and available in the coming weeks, includes an app launcher and the ability to use the watch via Wi-Fi—two hallmarks of Apple’s newcomer.
David Singleton, Director of Engineering, Android Wear said that:
Architect and artist William Morris once said, “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” Turns out that’s also good advice for deciding what to wear. So Android Wear offers a range of watches and apps that are fashionable as well as functional.
Over the past few months Google have added lots of ways to express your style—from custom watch faces to a rainbow of bands. Today Google is making Android Wear more helpful as well—getting you what you need, right on your wrist.
Google confirmed that the new LG Watch Urbane, which goes on sale on April 27, will be the first Android Wear to carry the new software update, which include wrist gesture control, always-on apps and more
Always-on screen, always-on apps
When you buy a watch you want it to, well, tell the time. So most Android Wear watches include an always-on screen—no tapping, twisting or shaking required to see what time it is. Now we’re expanding this option to apps, so they can stay visible as long as you need them, instead of disappearing when you drop your arm. In either case the screen is only full color when you’re actively looking at it—so you get the info you need, and you save on battery life.
Wi-Fi support & Phone Free
Previously, Android Wear watches only connected to phones via Bluetooth, which limited how far a user could get from their phone while keeping their watch working as normal. This update will allow users to not worry about having their phone on them while roaming around the house or office.
With GPS and offline music support, you can already leave your phone at home, then go jogging and jamming like normal. Now Android Wear supports watches with built-in Wi-Fi. As long as your watch is connected to a Wi-Fi network, and your phone has a data connection (wherever it is), you’ll be able to get notifications, send messages, and use all your favorite apps. And if you really do forget your phone, you can always ask your watch where it is.
Wi-Fi support won’t come to every Android Watch, however, because not every watch can handle it. For example, the LG G Watch, which was one of the very first Android Wear watches available, has no Wi-Fi radio built-in.
Simpler, faster, and more smiley
When it comes to your watch, using apps should be as simple as checking the time. So today Google is making a number of Android Wear improvements to help you access your info, and express yourself more easily:
Got your hands full? You no longer need them to check your news and notifications. Instead you can just flick your wrist to scroll through the stream. This new wrist-flicking gesture will let you control Android Wear in the event your hands are full. Just lift your wrist and give it a flick and Android Wear can respond, placing on screen its list of app notifications and Google Now alerts (the first thing you see when you move beyond the operating system’s watch face). Once there, you can also flick your wrist forward to scroll up the stream of information. A flick toward your body moves you down this stream
Your apps and contacts are now just a tap away from the watch face. Just touch the screen, and you’ll be able to start apps and send messages immediately.
Can’t talk? Now you can draw hundreds of different emojis, directly on the watch screen. Android wear software will recognize your work and send it via message or text. This funny new feature lets you access hundreds of existing emojis by sketching them with your finger, directly on the watch while in Android Wear’s messaging app or other Android Wear messaging apps such as What’s App. Draw your best approximation of a cocktail glass, a bus, a smiley face, or even a pile of poop. Android Wear tries to recognize the shape of what you drew, and offer a handful of emojis that most resemble that shape.
All these feature will be included in upcoming Android wear smartwatches and earlier Android wear smartwatches will also be updated shortly.