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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Android Wear update brings Wi-Fi support, always-on apps

The rumored update to Android Wear that was supposed to bring with it Wi-Fi support has now been made official by Google. It will be rolling out to all existing smartwatches running the wearable platform, starting with the new LG Watch Urbane. The new software should have reached all devices within the next few weeks.
Wi-Fi support isn't everything that's new here. Apps now get the ability to be always-on and keep your watch's display on all the time. Previously such functionality was limited to the screen that shows you what time it is.

From this point on, however, developers can take advantage of this feature, so their apps stay visible for as long as needed. Interestingly, the screen of the watch will only be full color when you're actively looking at it, in a bid to save power.
Moving on, gesture support is now built into Android Wear. So you can flick your wrist to scroll through your notifications. Apps and contacts are just a touch away from the watch face - you only need to tap the screen and you'll be able to start apps and send messages at once.
And if you want to send an emoji, you simply have to draw it on your smartwatch. Google will recognize it and send it along to your intended recipient.
As for the Wi-Fi functionality, this means watches that have the necessary hardware will work with your smartphone even when the two aren't paired via Bluetooth. Your watch only needs to be connected to a Wi-Fi network with Internet access, and your handset needs to have an active data connection - and all your notifications will keep showing up on your wrist.

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