Google is expanding the feature set of Android Wear with Wi-Fi support, always-on applications, support for drawing emoji, and changes to the way you access apps and contacts.
Here are the features and changes listed in a post on Google’s Android blog:
You could always set a watch face to be always-on, so the screen doesn’t turn off when you’re not looking at it, and now Google is extending the same functionality to all apps. This means you will be able to set an app (e.g. Google Maps or Keep) to keep the screen on in a special black-and-white dim mode, designed to save battery life. Now you won’t have to turn the display on each time you want to glance at, say, your groceries list.
Android Wear now supports watches with built-in Wi-Fi and the good part is the watch doesn’t need to be on the same Wi-Fi network as the smartphone. That means that, for instance, you can leave your phone on the charger on your desk and go out and about, and still get notifications from it, as long as both devices are connected to the internet.
New gesture for apps and contacts
Previously, accessing the apps on your device required several swipes and taps, which made it feel a bit cumbersome. Now getting to the app screen is as easy as tapping on the time, while accessing contacts is done by swiping to the left. Voice commands are accessible through another swipe.
You know that neat handwriting app that Google just launched in the Play Store last week? It lets you convert your scribbling into emoji, not just letters, and now the same features is available on Android Wear. So, for instance, you can doodle a heart or a smiley face to quickly answer to a message with the respective emoji. Sweet.
New way to flick through cards
For those times when you can’t use two hands, but you still need to go through your Google Now cards, a new wrist twist gesture lets you do just that.
Google says these new features will be hitting all seven current Android Wear smartwatches, “over the next few weeks,” with the swanky LG Watch Urbane being first in line. Stay tuned for a hands-on as soon as the update hits one of our devices.
Let us know your thoughts on these new features!