Major Android Wear update brings wrist-gesture controls, Wi-Fi support & more

LG Watch UrbaneIt seems the folks at Google have been working hard to get ready an update for their wearables platform, which not only brings some much needed features, but also fixes some caveats that were highlighted after the Apple Watch announcement.

This major new Android Wear update will roll-out to all Android Wear smartwatches over the coming weeks, beginning with LG G Watch Urbane. The latest update is bigger than the small upgrades that Google has been releasing over the past few months and includes several new features.

Update Highlights

Wi-Fi support: Google has added Wi-Fi support to the Android Wear, meaning your smartwatch will continue to work even when your paired smartphone is not in the vicinity for Bluetooth to work. For everything to function seamlessly, the paired smartphone needs to remain online.

“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,” explained Google in a blog post.

Flick your wrist gesture: Not able to touch your smartwatch screen to view the next notification card, just flick your wrist to advance the stream.Flick your wrist gesture

Quick access to apps and contacts: Your smartwatch apps and contacts are now one tap away from the watch-face, just touch the screen, and you’ll be able to start apps and send messages immediately.Quick access to apps and contacts

Draw emojis: Adding an emoji just became a piece of cake on Android Wear. You can now draw emojis on the watch screen and Google will recognize it.Draw emojis

Always-on apps: According to Google, apps will no longer disappear when you drop your arm. Instead they will remain open and when you are not actively looking at your watch-screen, the screen will turn black & white to save battery.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,” noted Google.

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