Android Wear Update: Emoji, Remote Access, and Hands-Free Oh My!
Join the DZone community and get the full member experience.Join For Free
Smartwatches are becoming even smarter. Don’t expect your wearables to begin refusing to open the pod bay doors just yet, but Android Wear-powered devices are growing more independent. While undoubtedly useful, smartwatches require connectivity with your phone. This isn’t dissipating altogether, but the dynamic between phones and smartwatches is evolving. Google announced this week that users can now connect to their phones remotely.
A huge drawback of smartwatches has been their reliance on phones. As such, the only real application was letting users leave their phones in their pockets, and browse notifications on their wrists. While most of these gadgets contained wi-fi, a phone in close proximity was necessary to receive notifications. Now alerts are pushed to smartwatches connected to wi-fi, as long as your phone is available over wi-fi or a cellular network. What’s more, it doesn’t have to be the same wi-fi network. As long as you've got reliable wi-fi, you're good to go.
Google’s much-appreciated update translates to further freedom from previous constraints. You’re no longer shackled to your phone, a massive leap forward in wearables development. The Android Wear update also delivers several other features that serve to refine Google’s smartwatch sector, and contend with the Apple's forthcoming Apple Watch. It’s now possible to leave the screen of your smartwatch on while using apps, but as a battery-saving compromise, the screen will turn black when it’s not being viewed. Plus, the update offers a hands-free feature, where users may change pages with a simple wrist movement.
If emoticons are your jam, you’re in for a treat. Amid Android Wear’s latest update is the ability to draw emoji with a finger. No word on whether your friends will be able to successfully identify your Picasso. I have enough difficulty typing on my phone’s on-screen keyboard, let alone sketching emoticons. Hey, I’ve got large fingers, and you know what they say about guys with big hands…they often use Bluetooth keyboards. With increased freedom, including functionality fixes and even social tweaks, Android Wear is certainly taking substantial strides in the right direction. No doubt Google will continue improving the smartwatch landscape, especially with the Apple Watch debut on the horizon.
Psyched for the latest Android Wear update? Still hoping for certain features? Let us know below or on Twitter!
Opinions expressed by DZone contributors are their own.