Google is gearing up to roll out a major Android Wear update to all smartwatches. This update comes with the upcoming LG Urbane out-of-the-box and will be rolled to other Android Wear devices. The update brings significant changes like Wi-Fi support, gesture control and hand-drawn emojis.
The biggest addition is Wi-Fi support. The technology was embedded within the software but it lay dormant so far. Now with this update, you will be able to still get notifications and stay connected even when you are far away from your phone. Earlier, you had to be within Bluetooth range for notifications to work.
Gesture controls right now is just to shift between cards by flicking your wrist outward or inwards. Jeff Chang, the lead product manager for Wear told The Verge that the gesture mode can be switched off manually as well. “We’ve certainly done a lot to reduce false positives, but the nice thing is, it’s not a destructive action. It’s just a way to scroll up and down,” Chang told the publication.
This update also brings the ability to draw emojis. Your Android Wear will decipher the drawing and give you the decoded options of emojis. Chang says that this feature was born out of the company’s hackathon event recently.
There is also the addition of a new low-power mode feature. The display shows just minimal amount of data, usually in black and white, and works internally with apps too, apart from the watchface.
All of these features promise the next Android Wear update to be the biggest one yet, but it remains to be seen how Wi-Fi support will affect the battery life. This wealthy update comes at a time when Apple Watch is close to shipping and the company wants to stay relevant in the smartwatch battle. If Google does bring Android Wear support to iPhone in the future, such juicy updates will have to be recurring.