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Google Announces Android Wear 4.4W.2 With GPS and Offline Music Support, New App Categories in Google Play

Two days ago, Motorola announced that a big update was rolling out to the Moto 360 that included a handful of useful tweaks to Android Wear. The LG G Watch received a similar update. In case you missed it, the update was to version 4.4W.2, which is one of the two big updates we are expecting to see from Google for their wearable platform before the year ends. Today, Google made the update official. 

Thanks to the update, Android Wear now supports watches with GPS units, like the Sony Smartwatch 3. That means you can take off for a run or bike ride without your phone and your watch will still track all of your happenings (route, distance, speed, etc.). Along with GPS support, offline music support is included as well, so that again, if you disconnect from your phone, can still listen to music while on the go (with Bluetooth headphones too). The latest Google Play Music update now shows an option for storing music on your wearable.

Speaking of the Sony Smartwatch 3, Verizon has pre-orders up for the device, but you will soon be able to buy it off of Google Play as well. Of course, you already knew that.

To help you take advantage of all of this new goodness, Google also announced that they have new Android Wear categories on Google Play. You will find app listings for things like health and fitnesstravel, productivity, and social.

Via:  Android Blog
  • I have the Sony Smartwatch 3 and so far, I’ve had no luck finding a running app that’ll work without the phone.

    I’ve tried Runkeeper, Strava and Runtastic. All of these require your phone in order to function on the watch.

    Has anyone found a running app that will work without the phone?

  • tu3218

    Preorder through verizon or wait for Google Play? Although I do like to buy through Best Buy so I can just return it if I don’t like it.

  • Indianajonze

    anyone running gear live see this yet? have a feeling we’re left out of the initial batch of updates

  • Nw_adventure

    Nice to have volume controls for Music functions finally 🙂

  • I’m waiting on the Moto 360-2

  • chris_johns

    are their any androidwear apps worthwhile? besides facer like i cant see what apps id want…i would actually love a great fitness app so i can use this watch like a fuelband

  • Jeremy Adams

    Anyone using the last Developers version of 5.0 on their Nexus 5 and get the update on their 360? Read somewhere that people weren’t getting the update due to Developer Version of Android. Any truth?

    • Patrick Smithopolis

      I have the Android 5.0 preview on my Nexus 5 and I haven’t received the update. Is it because of the preview? Who knows?

    • Mark

      i have the dev version of lollipop on my N7 and no update yet.

  • Good_Ole_Pinocchio

    Interesting that there’s only one Android Wear watch with GPS. Looking forward to second gen options.

    • Mike Aurin

      Since I don’t run ever, GPS doesn’t really matter that much for me. If my watch is on me, so is my phone.

      • Joe M

        Most of the watches out now, I also wouldn’t consider wearing while running. Bulky and weird on my wrist. It’s much easier to just have a phone in a pocket or spend $5 on an athletic strap case.

        • Mike Aurin

          Even when I get back into the swing of things at the gym, this bad boy isn’t coming with me. I’m not sweating all over this thing, IP67 be damned

        • Yeah, I don’t quite understand all the obsession over the health tracking abilities of some of the watches. Specifically the Moto 360. I bought it because it’s a nice looking watch. Not for taking it to the gym (I take it off before the gym..). I think excercise watches are going to be different from the other smartwatches.

  • Paul Cruz

    I got it for my G Watch last night and I really like the music controls a lot better.

  • Detonation

    The Sony SW3 might finally be the replacement to my MotoActv. I use it for working out and have a ROM on there so I can use Spotify, but it’s a very buggy and slow experience (and it’s still running gingerbread). The offline music would have to work with more the Play Music though.

    • tu3218

      Are you going to preorder through Verizon or Google?

      • Detonation

        I’m not sold on it yet – I’m in no rush so I’ll wait for some reviews first. If I had to order right now I’d probably go through Verizon because of the free shipping. Though I’m hoping it eventually shows up in a reatail store like Best Buy.

        • tu3218

          Yeah good point. i’m sure this watch isn’t going to be in too much of demand so I’m thinking I could probably get away with just finding one in store. Just need a release date.

  • Walter Partlo

    Would GPS on a watch be worth the battery hit? I suppose the answer is use case reliant.

    • Godzilla

      in my opinion no, my 360 already uses the GPS from my phone and google maps

      • Guest

        Edit: I’m illiterate

        • Godzilla

          she asked if it was worth it, i said no due to battery hit, you misread me.

          • akellar

            Yeah I realized that and edited my reply (and since deleted it).

          • Walter Partlo

            She? Do you know many women named Walt?

      • BSweetness

        Considerably different than having an active GPS chip in the actual watch though. Android Wear watches to date are just streaming the GPS info over Bluetooth like they do with everything else coming from the phone. Starting with the Sony Smartwatch 3, we’ll see Android Wear watches that have embedded GPS that runs on its own without needing a smartphone connection. It will definitely will draw more power when in use. Whether or not the additional power required is significant remains to be seen.

    • PoisonApple31

      For those that don’t want to run with their massive Nexus 6 in their pocket, I would say yes.

      • Walter Partlo

        With the Nexus 6, i think you could just put some backpack straps on it for running. :^)

    • BSweetness

      Yep, definitely use case reliant. Like on Android phones and tablets, the GPS only runs when it’s in use. So, if you’re not using the GPS on the watch, the mere existence of the hardware won’t drain the battery any faster. If you’re actively using the GPS on the watch often, I’d imagine there will be an increase in battery drain just like people see on phones and tablets when GPS is in use.

  • Mark

    Cool, can’t wait to try it on my 360.

  • Roberto Taylor

    I still haven’t received the update on my Moto 360… 🙁

    • Grayson

      Me neither bra.

    • Good_Ole_Pinocchio

      Is there a way to manually check for updates? Or do you just have to wait?

      • Grayson

        Settings > About > Updates on the watch, but if you haven’t been deemed worthy by the update gods, you still won’t be able to get it.

        • Good_Ole_Pinocchio

          Cool. Never looked for it when I had the 360

        • Daistaar

          Has that ever worked for you? Every time I’ve ever tried it always says I’m up to date.

      • miri

        You can check in Settings > About > System Update but It’s the same as Android’s update system (funny how that works). Updates roll out in batches. If you don’t get it in one, you have to wait until the next no matter how many times you check.

    • p8ntballah21

      If you reset the watch you will get the update when it reboots. That’s what I did.

      • Roberto Taylor

        Didn’t work for me.

        • p8ntballah21

          hmmm… worked for me on both updates so far…

          • Mike Aurin

            So he must be lying. It’s a stage rollout Roberto. I still haven’t gotten mine either. It’ll be knocking on our door soon, my friend.

          • Roberto Taylor

            I got mine yesterday afternoon. I still think it’s silly that you have to be 80% charged to apply updates though…lol

      • jstew182

        I just tried this on my LG G Watch and can confirm it pushed the update to my watch.

  • DRAF_Werd

    Does the Moto X have GPS support?

    I find it annoying that there isn’t a built in fully interactive map’s app on my watch. There is a 3rd party one out there I was trying, but to be honest it was really buggy, and not very good.

    • akellar

      No
      Edit: assuming you meant Moto 360 – obviously the Moto X has GPS

    • Good_Ole_Pinocchio

      The 360? I don’t think it has GPS

    • Roberto Taylor

      Moto 360 does not have GPS. It would eat up your battery in no time, and why would you want a fully interactive map app on such a small screen? People have the wrong idea of what Android Wear is. It’s supposed to compliment your phone, not replace it.

      • miri

        For tracking your runs without your phone, not for a map. Sony’s watch (as mentioned in the article) has GPS.

        • JSo

          The guy he was replying to wants a fully interactive map on his wrist.

          • miri

            For some reason I saw that as another comment. Interestingly enough, the Apple Watch has [what appears to be] a map app.

        • Guest

          Right now I’m running with a G3 strapped to my bicep for GPS and music, and also wearing my Moto 360 which I use to start and stop the run and that’s about it. I’m really looking forward to leaving my phone at home on runs when I get my next Android Wear GPS enabled watch.

          • JSo

            How would you listen to music with just your watch? Does Android wear allow you to do that?

          • Royal2000H

            Yes you would transfer music to your watch and then stream the music from the watch to bluetooth earphones.

        • Roberto Taylor

          Well, for tracking your runs/rides, etc. All it has to do is track your GPS location and then sync up with the app on your phone once you’re done. It doesn’t need a full interactive map for that.

      • AZ

        Right now I’m running with a G3 strapped to my bicep for GPS and music, and also wearing my Moto 360 which I use to start and stop the run and that’s about it. I’m really looking forward to leaving my phone at home on runs when I get my next Android Wear GPS enabled watch

    • Daistaar

      Yes, the Moto X has GPS. 😉