Android Wear due major upgrade, with Wi-Fi support and gesture control expected

11 Mar 2015

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Motorola's Moto360 is one of the more popular Android Wear devices

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Responding quickly to the launch of the Apple Watch, Google is about to roll out a suite of upgrades to its Android Wear gadgets, with built-in Wi-Fi compatibility set to go live.

Most Android Wear watches already have Wi-Fi, so the upgrade will be a painless software update, but The Verge is reporting “at least two” more elements are being introduced.

The first, gesture control, will mean users can scroll through notifications with the flick of a wrist. The second, a UI improvement, will mean easier access to both apps and contacts on the Android Wear devices.

The introduction of Wi-Fi support (for those with devices that can handle it) will be accommodated by Google Now being available without a Bluetooth connection.

Exciting times ahead?

We’re basically at the dawn of the smartwatch age, with its future quite possibly shortlived, but who’s to know?

With the Apple Watch only compatible with its iOS software, and Android Wear only available on its own operating system, there are basically two battling businesses never quite interacting.

Staying as relevant as each other may well be the business plan for the moment, although given the miniscule global market of smartwatch owners, it’s anyone’s guess exactly where this industry will ultimately head.

Interestingly, it’s not the only newly smart industry that Android and iOS are facing off in. For example, news emerged a few weeks ago of both rivals building towards domination of car dashboards.

Two dozen car brands are set to offer smartphone-enabled dashboard capabilities, with most hosting both operating systems.

Gordon Hunt is senior communications and context executive at NDRC. He previously worked as a journalist with Silicon Republic.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com