Android Wear updates finally make using apps as simple as checking the time

Google has rolled out a bunch of features to make your Android smartwatch a bit more hands-off, with a whole new range of gestures and touch shortcuts.

In what seems to be the first major update to Android Wear since it was unleashed onto people’s wrists about a year ago, Google’s focusing more on what it dubs being “fashionable” as well as “functionable”.

Android Wear watches have always had an always-on-screen — that battery munching feature that doubles up as a safety light for nighttime cyclists.

With this new update, you can extend this feature to your apps so they can stay visible for as long as you’d like.

Don’t worry too much about the battery. Google says that the screen will only be full colour when you’re actively looking at it and stays on a dim, black mode when you’re not.

Look how fancy that it:


The update is also a step in the right direction of cutting the chord with your tethered smartphone. As noted in the blog post announcement, while Android Wear already supports GPS and offline music support, it now supports watches with built-in WiFi, making it more independent and less of an accessory.

As long as you’re lurking around in a Wi-Fi hotspot, you’ll be able to get notifications and use all of the apps on your device. No phone needed. There’s also a feature that will let you track your lost phone using you watch.

Read more: Sony SmartWatch 3 review: substance over style

The watch is also a bit more touch averse. Scrolling through your news and notifications is as simple as flicking your wrist like this:


Better yet, instead of typing or voicing your instant messages, tweets and updates, Android Wear is introducing the ability to draw emojis. Hooray for emojis! The software recognises whether you draw a smily face, a thumbs up or a grumpy cat and display the correct emoji on-screen.


The updates are set to roll-out within the “next few weeks”.



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