Android Wear Software Receives Update
There is a slew of new features coming to the Android Wear line of smartwatches, and some of the improvements could even cause a large increase in sales for Google and the manufacturers of these watches. The first wearable to receive the update will be the LG Urbane watch, which will ship with the new features, and all the rest will receive the update over the coming weeks. A few caveats of the software are its tendency to chew through watch battery life, difficult operation, and few apps. The update aims to largely fix these problems and add other features as well.
Perhaps the biggest feature to come of the update is wifi connectivity for watches. Essentially, this means that users will be able to leave their smartphones at home, tethering to wifi hotspots rather than their phones. Before this update, wearers would need their connected phones on their person. With wifi though, this enables users to keep their phones at home if they'd like to. Still, however, the phone will sync over wifi, meaning calls, messages, and notifications will still be pushed to the watch. This is a great feature for those who aim for the watch to be their primary device. Considering the Apple Watch requires the user to have his or her iPhone within close range, this feature could draw some would-be Apple Watch wearers to Android Wear.
Furthermore, the new update is adding a new app selection screen, which allegedly improves upon the previous method in terms of ease and speed, as well as apps that can be continuously active. This will allow for users to keep the screen from dimming when using navigation or other applications with a necessity to be always-on. Regarding power consumption, a new ambient mode has been introduced to dim the screen and save battery. The ability to draw emojis to respond to messages, allowing for a little more flexibility in replies, is the last major feature added in the Android Wear update. While these new additions are certainly improvements for users, it is so far too difficult to tell if they will tear consumers away from the competition.