Google Pushes First Big Android Wear Update, Adds GPS Support And Offline Music
Android Wear is getting its first update, the 4.4W.2, which brings in two major features: the GPS location support, and the support for offline music playback.
The GPS support for Android Wear is a welcome feature for fitness enthusiasts. It allows users to track distance, routes, elevation and speed without the need of having a smartphone in their pockets. The feature will, however, work only on devices that come with a built-in GPS sensor.
That means the update doesn’t do any good for Wear users whose devices lack the necessary hardware. The only device to get this feature is Sony’s new SmartWatch 3, which is now up for pre-order for $250 at Verizon’s Wireless, and will hit the Play Devices store soon.
Though Samsung Gear S, released in August, features 3G and a GPS sensor, the device runs Tizen OS. Apple Watch, which is set to launch next year, is also designed to track workout data, but still it won’t have dedicated GPS built-in. The device will make use of iPhone GPS and Wi-Fi connections to keep a record of your tracks.
Foretunately, the second main feature — Offline music storage — has no catch to it, and every Wear user can enjoy it. It offers you the ability to pair a Wear device with a Bluetooth headset to locally store music for offline playback, without the hassle of your Android phone close by. That means you can go out on a jog or bike ride wearing your smartwatch and listen wirelessly, while having your phone at home.
Another feature which Google promised back in September, but it didn’t make yesterday’s cut is custom watch faces. The feature may be referred to as the homescreen of Wear devices, and will make it possible for users to easily swap out watch faces. According to Google, it will be available to users by the end of this year via a
Google will push the update to other Wear devices, such as the LG G Watch, Samsung Gear Live, and Moto 360 in the next few days, but the only additional feature you’ve got is offline music.
Additionally, Google says there are “tens of thousands” of Wear-enabled apps in Play Store. The search engine giant has, therefore, also worked on improving the discoverability of these apps making it easier for both Android Wear developers and users to find and explore the apps.
The store now includes this ever-growing list of apps into eight collections: Health and Fitness, Travel, Social, Tools, Productivity, Communication, Featured and miscellaneous.