It seems like this happened before: Apple comes out with a device like the iPhone and although it is not the first Smartphone, it is and still is for many people the phone to get, managing to push aside the competition not by using the best hardware or innovating in the real sense of the word. Instead the iPhone had the “X Factor” that people wanted.
Fast forward to 2015 and the company’s newly released Watch is about to do the same thing again. Thanks to the heavy publicity, Apple has already managed to sell well over 1 million Watch units and that means it already surpassed any other so called Smartwatch. And there are quite a few of those, such as the Moto 360, the LG G Watch R, Samsung Gear or the Pebble.
Most of these are powered by Android Wear. But there have been complaints about the limitations of the OS which even prompted Samsung to start using their own Tizen OS instead in all their recent wearables, apart from the Samsung Gear Live. Even LG decided to customize on their own the Android Wear OS that they will put in their newly announced LG Watch Urbane.
All these events forced Google to take action and this week the company is rolling out a major update of the Android Wear that will bring the much sought after improved usability to the Android Wear powered Smartwatches.
First, there are the changes to how the time and the apps are displayed on the screen. When you are looking at the watch, the screen displays them and the watch faces in full color and detail. When you lower your arm, the screen enters a black and white mode but is still on so you don’t have to wake up the device every time you need to check time on it. This state is a low power one so hopefully the impact on the battery life won’t be too great.
Secondly, and this is much more important, Android Wear adds Wi-Fi support. So now if your Smartwatch has a built-in Wi-Fi receiver you’ll be able to connect to the internet for more functionality and if your phone is also connected to a network, even a different one, it will be possible to get notifications, send and receive messages, use any app you want and even access Google Drive. That means you don’t need to carry your phone with you everywhere all the time. You can even use your Smartwatch to find your phone, should you misplace it.
Some other improvements consist of the new method of going through your notifications by flicking the wrist and the ability to go through often used apps like Weather, Maps with just one swipe.
For now it seems Google is interested to invest time and resources in the Android Wear platform and there will surely be future updates to it. All that’s left is for the gadget manufacturers to follow suit and keep designing and producing such devices to take advantage of the OS.
Image Source: jebiga