Menu
Google adding GPS, offline music playback to Android Wear smartwatches

Google adding GPS, offline music playback to Android Wear smartwatches

The software update will hit a range of devices in the coming months, Google said

Various smartwatches powered by Google's Android Wear software.

Various smartwatches powered by Google's Android Wear software.

Smartwatches powered by Google's Android Wear operating system will soon become a little more useful, with features like GPS support and offline music playback.

Google said Friday that previously released Android Wear watches as well as new ones will be receiving the features in the coming months. It's part of a larger, gradual push to bring more of the functions available on smartphones to people's wrists, which might eventually support altogether new applications that make particular sense for a "smart" watch.

With the upcoming features, users will be able to listen to music stored on their watches via Bluetooth headphones, Google said. If a watch includes a GPS sensor, users can track their distance and speed when they go for a run, or receive navigation directions on-the-fly.

Also coming are downloadable watch faces, to let people customize the visual design of the watch's home screen and organize their apps as they see fit, Google said. The watch faces will be made available in the Google Play Store.

In addition to the software updates, more watches themselves are on the way. LG's G Watch and Samsung's Gear Live comprise the first Android Wear watches, but a number of new ones are being made available soon.

The Asus Zen Watch, which has a bio sensor for physical activity tracking, is planned to go on sale later this month for US$199. The LG G Watch R will hit stores in October, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal. The Sony SmartWatch 3 will cost 230 euros when it goes on sale this fall.

Also, Motorola on Thursday evening officially launched its Moto 360 smartwatch for US$250 -- the first Android Wear device with a round display.

All of those watches will receive the new software updates as they're ready in the coming months, Google said.

The updates, to be clear, are incremental, said Ramon Llamas, an industry analyst with IDC who studies mobile devices. "This is the continued evolution of Android Wear, not a revolution," he said.

Developers and vendors, he said, are still in search of a killer app for a smartwatch, he said, whether it's on a device powered by Google's software or Samsung's Tizen. But as Google brings more core software functionalities to Android Wear smartwatches, this helps lay the groundwork.

Zach Miners covers social networking, search and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow Zach on Twitter at @zachminers. Zach's e-mail address is zach_miners@idg.com


Follow Us

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags mobileinternetMotorolaGooglemobile applicationsInternet-based applications and servicesMapsMusic and audio

Events

Featured

Slideshows

Meet the Reseller News 30 Under 30 Tech Awards 2020 winners

Meet the Reseller News 30 Under 30 Tech Awards 2020 winners

This year’s Reseller News 30 Under 30 Tech Awards were held as an integral part of the first entirely virtual Emerging Leaders​ forum, an annual event dedicated to identifying, educating and showcasing the New Zealand technology market’s rising stars. The 30 Under 30 Tech Awards 2020 recognised the outstanding achievements and business excellence of 30 talented individuals​, across both young leaders and those just starting out. In this slideshow, Reseller News honours this year's winners and captures their thoughts about how their ideas of leadership have changed over time.​

Meet the Reseller News 30 Under 30 Tech Awards 2020 winners
Reseller News Exchange Auckland: Beyond the myths — how partners can master cloud security

Reseller News Exchange Auckland: Beyond the myths — how partners can master cloud security

This exclusive Reseller News Exchange event in Auckland explored the challenges facing the partner community on the cloud security frontier, as well as market trends, customer priorities and how the channel can capitalise on the opportunities available. In association with Arrow, Bitdefender, Exclusive Networks, Fortinet and Palo Alto Networks. Photos by Gino Demeer.

Reseller News Exchange Auckland: Beyond the myths — how partners can master cloud security
Reseller News welcomes industry figures at 2020 Hall of Fame lunch

Reseller News welcomes industry figures at 2020 Hall of Fame lunch

Reseller News welcomed 2019 inductees - Leanne Buer, Ross Jenkins and Terry Dunn - to the fourth running of the Reseller News Hall of Fame lunch, held at the French Cafe in Auckland. The inductees discussed the changing face of the IT channel ecosystem in New Zealand and what it means to be a Reseller News Hall of Fame inductee. Photos by Gino Demeer.

Reseller News welcomes industry figures at 2020 Hall of Fame lunch
Show Comments