Google has released a major update for Android Wear smartwatches in an effort to make the products more appealing to consumers just before the release of the Apple Watch.
The update adds more functionality to the wearable devices.
According to a Google blog post, the update makes Android Wear “more helpful” by “getting you what you need, right on your wrist.”
Android Wear now features an always-on-screen for apps. The majority of Android Wear watches include an always-on screen to see what time it is. Google has expanded this option to apps so that they are visible “as long as you need them”, instead of “disappearing when you drop your arm.”
“In either case the screen is only full color when you’re actively looking at it—so you get the info you need, and you save on battery life.”
Android Wear nows supports Android Wear smartphones with built-in Wi-Fi.
According to Google:
“As long as your watch is connected to a Wi-Fi network, and your phone has a data connection (wherever it is), you’ll be able to get notifications, send messages, and use all your favorite apps.”
In addition, Android Wear users can now flick their wrist to scroll through news and notifications – a useful feature when hands are full.
Users can draw hundreds of different emojis, directly on the watch screen, which will be automatically recognized and sent via message or text.
David Singleton, Director of Engineering, Android Wear, said:
“These updates are coming to all seven Android Wear watches over the next few weeks, starting with the new LG Watch Urbane. In the meantime, there are plenty of useful apps and lots of beautiful watch faces—so find your favorites, and wear what you want.”