Android Wear 5.1.1 update starts rolling out to compatible smartwatches

Android Wear 5.1.1 update starts rolling out to compatible smartwatches
Google has just announced on one of its product forums that the Android Wear 5.1.1 update has started rolling out to all compatible smartwatches.

The update will spread out gradually, and the company says that it might take anywhere between a few days to a few weeks before it reaches your wrist piece.

Android Wear 5.1.1 is a major update to Google's wearable platform, chief among the new features being Wi-Fi support. With Android 5.1.1, smartwatches will be able to connect to wireless networks and stay in sync with your Android smartphone even when the Bluetooth connection is lost. This means that you'll be able to get notifications and access Google's voice search feature when your phone isn't nearby, but the smartwatch is only be able to connect to Wi-Fi networks that the phone has previously authorized.

Unfortunately, only some Android Wear 5.1.1 smartwatches will be blessed with these new capabilities. Google says that Wi-Fi support will only be enabled on four smartwatches, the LG Watch Urbane (this one was launched with Android Wear 5.1.1 out of the box), the Motorola Moto 360, the Sony Smartwatch 3, and the Samsung Gear Live. Update: it looks like the LG G Watch R might get Wi-Fi support in a future update as well

Other new features included with this update are support for always-on apps, a new gesture for accessing apps and contacts (a left swipe from the watch face), the ability to change the font size, and support for emoji drawing. 

Google's post in the Android Wear Help Forum also says that the update will only roll out to users who are running the latest version of the Android Wear companion app. To make sure you're up to date, find the Android Wear companion app in Google Play and hit the update button. If there's no update button, you are already rocking the latest version.

source: Google

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7 Comments

1. KillgoreTroutTime

Posts: 433; Member since: Jan 06, 2014

I have heard mixed things....does the watch need to be connected to the SAME wifi as the phone is? If just any wifi could connect your watch to your phone, then awesome, otherwise....meh

3. Feanor

Posts: 1365; Member since: Jun 20, 2012

Any WiFi, no matter how far. The Apple Watch needs the same WiFi, if I've read correct. The only catch with Android Wear is that the WiFi spot has to be either open or previously authorised by the phone, so you won't have your watch connected to unknown spots.

2. Feanor

Posts: 1365; Member since: Jun 20, 2012

I got already the update on my G Watch R. Looks great. Flick to swipe is awesome, as is always on applications. Take that that, fruity Watch! :-)) Small surprising note; the update was installed automatically overnight, didn't ask me to confirm, so I woke up with a new watch. :-))

5. sgodsell

Posts: 7367; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

Does the LG G Watch R have WiFi?

7. Feanor

Posts: 1365; Member since: Jun 20, 2012

No. It's not available. I read mixed reasons for this; either that it has modem but lacks antenna, or that it has the hardware but it doesn't have the certification, or that LG were just looking for a differentiating factor from the new Urbane (because otherwise they're functionally identical). I believe the last. However LG did allow the G Watch R to get the LG Call app which it was initially rumoured to be also an Urbane exclusive. It lets you place calls without having to take the phone out of your pocket, as long as you are using a hands-free.

4. Tuxedo

Posts: 356; Member since: Mar 19, 2013

Wonder how this will affect battery life...

6. joey_sfb

Posts: 6794; Member since: Mar 29, 2012

Just ordered a Moto 360 since its on heavy discount. I already have Samsung Gear, Pebble, Sony Smartwatch 1 & 2, Neptune Pine and Hot Watch. Time to get to know Android Wear!

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