Major Android Wear update is announced; adds Wi-Fi support, much-needed app launcher, and more


Several weeks ago, rumors predicted the addition of Wi-Fi functionality and a new app launcher to Android Wear. Today, Google announced an update to its wearable-friendly platform, and... let's say that the rumors were on the right track. 

The latest form of Android Wear is designed to be more helpful by providing what you need right on your wrist. And you'll have better access to what matters, too. First and foremost, we're glad to know that apps and contacts are much easier to access in the new Android Wear update. These can be reached with a single tap on the screen, which displays a list of apps loaded on your wearable. Swiping to the side takes you to your contacts list.

Speaking of apps, they'll gain always-on abilities with the new Android Wear update. Instead of disappearing as soon as you drop your arm, running applications will stay active for as long as you need them. They'll be drawn in color only when you're interacting with your wearable - a tweak meant to save battery life.

To make communication more fun and easy, Google is also baking emoji recognition into Android Wear. In a nutshell, you'll be able to draw an emoji using your finger which will be recognized, converted, and sent to a given recipient. Busy hands? No problem! The newly-added support for gestures will let you scroll through your stream with a flick of the wrist. 

Furthermore, the latest Android Wear update enables Wi-Fi connectivity, GPS, and offline music support for smart watches equipped with the necessary hardware. This will let users leave their phone behind and still get their notifications while in range of a wireless network. And when paired with a set of wireless earphones, your watch will let you enjoy your favorite tunes while exercising. 

The major Android Wear update is coming to all seven Android Wear watches, starting with the LG Watch Urbane. The rest of the gang should be treated to the new software within the next few weeks. 


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35 Comments

1. waddup121 unregistered

Wow, this is is a HUGE update. Lots of new functionality added.

29. andynaija

Posts: 1261; Member since: Sep 08, 2012

Lol is there sarcasm in this are you really serious?

33. sgodsell

Posts: 7419; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

Well any time you give developers new options. Then that is always nice to have. Plus enabling WiFi on the watch is really something that is needed. Now I can make a web based WiFi storage app for the watch. If only the watches had 16 GB or more. Then I wouldn't have to carry my Sandisk Connect anymore. My Android Wear watch could replace it. Well at least 4 GB is a start. I don't care about the drawing thing, but the menu update seems really nice.

2. hmd74

Posts: 540; Member since: Jan 31, 2013

Waiting for Moto 360 2015 (Moto 720?)

7. Scott93274

Posts: 6040; Member since: Aug 06, 2013

I just hope they don't follow the Microsoft naming logic and go with Moto One.

22. Mxyzptlk unregistered

I rather get the G Watch R successor. Looks more like a watch and will probably be easier to get.

34. sgodsell

Posts: 7419; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

The LG G Watch R is not going away. Its a sports watch. The LG Urbane is the more elegant version with a higher resolution (400x400). Puts the Apple watch to shame. But then again so does a number of Android Wear smart watches.

3. realjjj

Posts: 375; Member since: Jan 28, 2014

They should add the ability to add small custom dials on any watch face. The dials would act as widgets and ofc shortcut to w/e app. You could have a heart rate tiny dial, outside temp and so on.Even the main dial could act like a small dial, for things like home automation you would need the main dial to display icons of devices in range and a slide towards the center from an device icon would either be an action or open the card for that device.

4. NexusX

Posts: 613; Member since: May 16, 2013

wifi support is a huge deal for android wear i'm looking forward to this update however, keep in mind that the moto 360 is using a dated chip that may or may not support wifi, while lg, samsung watches are using more recent sd400s that have built-in wifi support

19. erikiksaz

Posts: 170; Member since: Apr 22, 2010

Wifi works on the 360. It's mentioned on their own blog detailing this update.

21. Feanor

Posts: 1379; Member since: Jun 20, 2012

I think you're both wrong. From the current Android Wear watches only Sony Smartwatch 3 has integrated WiFi, the update will only work for it.

25. josephnero

Posts: 781; Member since: Nov 16, 2011

Smartwatch 3 has GPS.others have wifi too i think

26. Feanor

Posts: 1379; Member since: Jun 20, 2012

Only Smartwatch 3 has both GPS and WiFi. I'm pretty sure.

36. spicy

Posts: 9; Member since: Oct 22, 2014

The FCC ID suggests that the LG G watch does have Wifi. At least, it is certified for Wifi Go to fccid.net and search for ZNFW110 (application ID 866900)

5. Wiencon

Posts: 2278; Member since: Aug 06, 2014

Seeing how slow Apple is when it comes to adding features I think that Android Wear is the way to go with smartwatches.

8. Sauce5 unregistered

Apple has most of these features on their watch. Thank god Android Wear supports WiFi so we don't have to depend on a device now. Getting the Moto 360 soon to use with my iPhone.

12. Scott93274

Posts: 6040; Member since: Aug 06, 2013

There's some question as to if Apple will allow Android Wear will be aloud to work with iOS at all. I hope it will.

13. tedkord

Posts: 17388; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

I would be surprised if they did.

32. Sauce5 unregistered

You can already use Android Wear on Apple Watch.

31. Sauce5 unregistered

You can already use Android Wear on Apple Watch.

23. Mxyzptlk unregistered

Don't see why not. Pebble is on there.

27. Scott93274

Posts: 6040; Member since: Aug 06, 2013

Yeah, but the Pebble can hardly be considered a risk of stealing customers from Apple. So far the presales of the Apple Watch seem very optimistic. If you add a dozen or so competing devices for consumers to choose from with more quality options becoming available every couple months then you have a problem.

6. androiphone20

Posts: 1654; Member since: Jul 10, 2013

That guy is raising his fist ever. so. carefully.

9. Feanor

Posts: 1379; Member since: Jun 20, 2012

I like how most images are from the non-Android Wear LG G Watch Urbane LTE... :-)) Looking forward to this update 1. For always on applications (I use Google Keep on my G Watch R for my shopping list, it works great but the app needs restarting every time my watch goes idle and it's mighty annoying) and 2. For some bug removing because the latest update did nothing to fix the problem with failing to launch apps and generally, since Android Wear was updated to Lollipop, stability sucks.

10. Sakeem

Posts: 862; Member since: Sep 05, 2012

Looking forward to the 2nd and 3rd gen Android Wear powered watches. Nice update.

14. santoss2013

Posts: 82; Member since: Jan 16, 2015

LG G Watch R User...is waiting :D

15. Feanor

Posts: 1379; Member since: Jun 20, 2012

Do you have the same problem with me, that apps fail to launch?

17. santoss2013

Posts: 82; Member since: Jan 16, 2015

Sometimes...I keep very few app on him and works fine ;)

18. Feanor

Posts: 1379; Member since: Jun 20, 2012

I also don't have many apps. But the preinstalled Google apps crash too. It fails to start heart rate monitor, stopwatch, even settings. It takes a few efforts. This problem didn't exist when I bought the watch and it was running 4.4 but since the update to 5.0 it is very unstable.

20. santoss2013

Posts: 82; Member since: Jan 16, 2015

I have 5.0.2 ...I never try on 4.4

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