According to Googler Wayne Piekarski, a developer advocate who focuses on Android Wear, the big Android 5.1.1 update for the Moto 360 is finally ready. The update will start rolling out to units today, but as you are all well aware, these updates take time to reach everyone. The update will hit only a handful of devices today before gradually increasing its reach over the next few days or weeks.
After hearing a couple of weeks ago that the update was still in testing as Google and Motorola tried to improve performance, we weren’t sure how much longer we would all have to wait. So, yeah, this is great news!
As a recap, here are some of the big new features:
- Always-on screen, always-on apps: Most Android Wear watches include an always-on screen—no tapping, twisting or shaking required to see what time it is. Now we’re expanding this option to apps, so they can stay visible as long as you need them, instead of disappearing when you drop your arm. Perfect for running, navigating, or grocery shopping!
- New launcher & Wrist gestures: Now you can access your apps and contacts by simply swiping left from the watch face. Android Wear also now responds to specific navigation gestures so you can scroll between cards with a simple flick of the wrist. Learn more with our YouTube video.
- Draw emojis: In response to texts, instant messages, or emails, you can now send emojis to your contacts by drawing them on your watch screen. The watch will recognize the emoji you drew and send it via whichever messaging app you’re using. Give it a try by selecting “Draw emoji” whenever you’re replying to a message!
- Heads-up notifications: Incoming notifications like text messages will now appear on-screen even when you’re looking at something else on your watch, like directions or fitness stats, so you won’t miss anything important.
- Switching watches made easier: The Android Wear companion app now lets you pair your phone with more than one watch at a time – ideal for swapping watches to match your style.
- Change your font size: Want to see more text on your watch screen? Or less? You can now adjust the font size from your watch’s settings.
- Lock your watch’s screen: Want to lock your watch’s screen when you’re not wearing it? Turn on the new “Screen lock” feature from your watch’s settings. When enabled, if your watch detects you’re not wearing it (or it loses the connection to your phone) for a period of time, then your specified swipe pattern will be required to unlock it.
To see a tour of the new Android 5.1 features, check out the video below.
Let us know if you see the update!