Google releases sizeable Android Wear update to improve standalone functionality

Callum Tennent
October 24, 2014

Android Wear may not have quite taken off in the way that Google would have hoped in the four months since its launch, but the company isn’t sitting around complaining about it. It’s working hard on rolling out new features to the device to make it a little more appealing.

And what new features would make Android Wear appealing to you? How about greater standalone functionality? That seems to be the general theme of this new update, which is pretty large compared to those that have gone before it.

For example, Android Wear now has GPS support. This means that it can track your progress and movement without being tethered to your smartphone. There is one fairly sizeable caveat, though – no Android Wear devices currently have GPS functionality. That’s not great news to those currently in possession of, say, a Motorola Moto 360 or LG G Watch, but it is a big deal for anyone planning on buying a device in the future. For example the soon-to-be-released Sony Smartwatch 3 will have GPS built-in.

The second big change is the ability to directly pair your smartwatch with bluetooth headsets or earphones. This means that you could, say, go for a run without having to bring your smartphone along with you and still listen to music. Current Android Wear devices may only have on-board storage of 4GB right now, but that’s still enough space to load up a few playlists.

The final update is a little less impactful, but still handy nonetheless. Google has added eight new app collections for Android Wear apps on the Google Play Store. It boasts that there is apparently over 10,000 Android Wear apps now available, so it’s only right that they’re a little bit easier to navigate. These new categories include Fitness & Health and Travel – thinking about it, it’s a little odd that they didn’t exist already, but it’s certainly better late than never.

You can check out the full statement on the official Android developers blog here.

About the Author

Callum Tennent

International playboy/tech journalist.

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