Mountain View, Calif. – Google is upgrading its Android Wear smart watch OS, adding multiple convenience functions plus Wi-Fi access to data and messages.
The updates will come to all seven Android Wear smart watches available from Asus, LG, Motorola, Samsung and Sony during the next few weeks starting with the LG Watch Urbane.
With Wi-Fi access, the smart watches will be able to get notifications, send messages and use all apps if the watch is outside of Bluetooth range of the user’s Android smartphone. Consumers who forget their phone will also be able to ask their watch where it is. That feature was announced last month. Users say,
‘Ok, Google. Start. Find my phone,’ or they select the Find My Phone option in the Start menu. The phone will ring at full volume.
In other changes, Google is also adding such convenience features as an always-on app screen, joining the always-on watch-face screen. In expanding the always-on option to apps, apps will stay visible instead of disappearing when users drop their arm. The screen will be full color only when the user is looking at it to save battery life.
Another new feature lets users flick their wrist away from them to stream through news and notifications, making it unnecessary to use their other hand to access the info.
Google is also adding the ability to:
–tap the watch face to start apps and send messages immediately
— draw emojis directly on the watch screen. They’ll be recognized and sent via email or text.