The big Android Wear update to Android 5.1.1 is beginning its slow rollout starting today. The update, as many of you know, introduces a bunch of new features, but there is one in particular that is somewhat of a game-changer – WiFi support. With WiFi support, your Android Wear watch can continue to receive notifications and allow you to interact with it even without a direct Bluetooth connection to your phone. That means that if you lost your phone, left it behind on purpose, or walked out of its range, your watch wouldn’t be reduced to a feature set that a feature phone would laugh at.
Back in late April, Google announced that a new version of Android Wear would soon be arriving on your favorite smartwatch with features like WiFi support, emoji drawing, an app launcher, wrist flick navigation gesture, and more. They also mentioned that this new version of their wearable platform would first be available on LG’s new Watch Urbane (our review) before anyone else would see it. That bit about it being on the Watch Urbane first certainly seemed to imply that some sort of back alley deal had been made with LG in order to hopefully boost early sales of their new “premium” watch for a couple of weeks. Who knows if it helped, but today, that exclusive on Android 5.1.1 for Android Wear seems to have ended and Google has begun pushing updates to the rest of their smartwatch line-up. (more…)
Bye bye, Gear Live!
According to a report out of The Verge, Google is readying a new update for Android Wear that will enable WiFi support for equipped handsets. Adding WiFi would allow for devices with WiFi to be able to continue to receive notifications or see Google Now cards or swap data between devices even without a Bluetooth connection. That’s a good deal, right there.
As of today, it’s difficult to tell which Android Wear devices even have WiFi included, though. The Sony Smartwatch 3 advertises as being “WiFi ready.” However, the rest of the current crop don’t mention WiFi at all on their product pages, yet still might contain the capability. We’ll see if we can do some digging to find out. (more…)
Update: Most Android Wear devices, like the G Watch, G Watch R, Gear Live, and ZenWatch all appear to be receiving this update. Not much is standing out in terms of new stuff. If anything, your watch should be more stable.
An Android 5.0.2 update is rolling out now to Moto 360 units as build LWX49L. At least one of our readers has already received the update, which Motorola says updates Google Play Services and adds a “variety of system optimizations and security updates to improve performance stability.” This appears to be a bug fixers rather than a feature-introducer.
To check for the update on your device, head into Settings>About>System updates. (more…)
We enter 2015 after a year in which Google decided to takeover the wearable market with Android Wear. Companies had tried before Android Wear to make smartwatches, but if we are being honest, have to admit that most were quite terrible. That’s not to say that Android Wear is a perfect option, but it’s safe to say that it is currently the best option, as well as an option that should only get better over time. Companies like Motorola, LG, and ASUS have all bought into Google’s wearable platform, even giving us more choices than I think most expected.
With a year full of 2nd generation wearables surely on the horizon, we are wondering how many of you have already jumped into the game early and picked up a smartwatch? (Who would do such a thing with the Apple Watch on the way!) Do you own a Moto 360? One of the G Watches, perhaps? Or maybe you own one of the other options, like say a Gear Live, Gear 2, Zenwatch, Pebble, etc.? If so, be sure to jump into the comments to talk about your specific watch.
If you don’t own a smartwatch yet, be sure to let us know why.
Android Wear is receiving a major update that begins rollout today. Alongside the update, developers are being given full access to the Watch Face API, which means that we will all soon enjoy legitimate watch face apps instead of the janky work-around solutions we have dealt with since the beginning of Android Wear. Outside of the new API, a list of new features and UI tweaks are here to improve the experience. (more…)
Of course, many of the first things you will want to download are custom watch faces, so we have that covered, but we also wanted to showcase a couple of utility applications, two of which you may not have thought to try out on your own.
Below, see our list of a few apps which we think you might enjoy on your Android Wear smartwatch. (more…)