In a bid not to be outdone by the Apple Watch, Android Wear, the software Google developed for wearable devices, will soon get updates that will make it more similar to the software used by Apple's device.
As reported by The Verge, Google is planning to bring Wi-Fi support to Android Wear when it rolls out its next software update. On top of that, the update will also include support for gesture control, which means users of devices that run on Android Wear will no longer need to swipe their finger across the screen in order to switch between notifications. According to The Verge's story, the update will also make it easier for users to switch between apps.
Google developed Android Wear to run on all kinds of wearable devices, including smartwatches and smartbands. Via this software, users can have access to third-party apps and even browse the Internet using their wearable devices. Android Wear is already running on a number of notable wearable devices, including the Moto 360, the Samsung Gear Live, and the Asus ZenWatch.
Just as the Apple Watch software only works with Apple's iOS (which runs on iPhones and iPads), Android Wear can only function with devices that run on the Android mobile operating system. Both the Apple Watch and Android Wear devices depend on another handset in order to fully function. In other words, these devices can not display notifications, connect online, or make use of their apps without the help of another gadget, usually a smartphone with a compatible operating system.
For now, Android Wear facilitates the transfer of data only with the use of Bluetooth technology. This poses some challenges because much of its functionality relies on the presence of an Android smartphone (with its Bluetooth activated) within the vicinity.
The Apple Watch has it easier because not only does it have Bluetooth technology, it also has Wi-Fi support. For instance, an owner of an Apple Watch can make use of the smartwatch's features even when the device it is paired with (an iPhone) is beyond Bluetooth range, as long as both devices are connected to each other via Wi-Fi.
There are many existing Android Wear-run devices that are equipped with built-in wireless capabilities, but because the Android Wear does not yet support Wi-Fi, these wearable devices are not used to their full extent.
But Google is working to change all that soon. The company has not confirmed any specific date yet for the update, but Google needs to time it just right. The Apple Watch will become commercially available on April 24th this year (pre-orders start April 10th), so the Android Wear technicians have their work cut out for them.
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