Android Wear is about to get a slew of new features. Google today announced an update that should make Android watches a lot easier to use.
While most Wear devices keep watchfaces on at all times with a power-saving Ambient Mode, sometimes the time isn’t the information you need from your smartwatch. Android Wear will now allow apps to create always-on modes to provide useful information – think locations on a map or a grocery list – without having to turn on the screen.
Google is also enabling Wi-Fi on its Wear watches, allowing you to use them independently as long as you’re connected a Wi-Fi network and your phone has a data connection. This means you can continue to use your watch, get notifications, and send messages even if your phone isn’t within Bluetooth range.
Android Wear’s launcher can be pretty inconvenient; if you’re not sure of the appropriate voice command, getting to the app you want can involve a lot of tapping and scrolling. Now, tapping once the screen allows you to access apps and contacts immediately.
Google is also adding some extra useability gestures. Now if your hands are full, you can scroll through lists with a flick of the wrist. Emoji are easier to access too; Google recently launched a handwriting input keyboard, and its using that technology to let you draw the emoji you want on your wrist.
Google says the updates are rolling out to all Android Wear watches over the next few weeks. The LG Watch Urbane will be first, with the others following soon thereafter.
➤ Android Wear: wear what you want, get what you need [Google Blog]