Google plans to update Android Wear watches early and often; first roadmap of features outlined

LG G Watch Android Wear DSC06105

One of Google’s visions with Android Wear was to provide a platform that would allow everyone to get timely updates no matter which device they bought. They’ve gone as far as mandating a block on deep customization by OEMs, effectively eliminating the possibility of OEMs using custom skins that might hold updates back.

All of that is because Google obviously wants to grow the Android Wear platform fast in its infancy. Engineering director David Singleton spoke to CNet about future upgrade plans, noting that they want the updates to be both plentiful and fast. Going into detail, Google mentioned one of the first things they wanted to implement is support for GPS without the need to pair to an Android phone. This is certainly an important factor for the horde of smart watches with 3G radios we’ll eventually see.

Google also mentioned adding support for pairing a Bluetooth headset directly with a smart watch, so you can listen to tunes that are loaded up on the smart watch itself or from a streaming app. Rounding the list of things they want to do is an API for custom watch faces. For the more immediate future, Google says an incoming update this week will improve voice commands and the navigation experience.

Google didn’t go into grave detail about much else, though we’re sure they have many more features lined up to help push Android Wear to the next level in a few short months. Let us know what you’d eventually like to see in the comments below.

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  • Defenestratus

    Android Wear > iWatch.

    • godisafairytale

      Android Wear is more existent than iWatch.

  • http://google.com/+derekross Derek Ross

    Capabilities without the need for a paired phone are nice. Me, I’m just waiting for this to become a reality. https://twitter.com/Android/status/499616327112609794

    • J Cav the Great

      That’s some Inspector Gadget $hit!!!!

    • Alex Alexander

      Is it called Gear S.

      • http://google.com/+derekross Derek Ross

        Tizen based watches does not allow you to initiate a brand new Hangout.

        • Medion

          Don’t worry Derek, he wasn’t actually arguing that the Gear S supports that feature. It’s just that “Gear S” is practically the only thing that he can type. It’s like how the only words most Pokemon speak are their own names.

  • Alex Alexander

    Well GPS and headset connection are functions coming in the Gear S. Headset is supported for the current Samsung Gear.

  • hemipw54

    Oh great more fragmentation, now in wristwatches.
    Google just loves to implement changes, it reminds me of Micro$oft, growing or gouging (adding to the pool to keep people updating to new wares).
    Smart watches are dumb.

    • steveb944

      Do you even read the article before replying with a baseless comment?

      “They’ve gone as far as mandating a block on deep customization by OEMs, effectively eliminating the possibility of OEMs using custom skins that might hold updates back.”

      And I’m sure that closed mentality was what you used for laptops, smartphones, tablets, etc. in general.

      • hemipw54

        Okay so if you buy a 4GB wristwatch and then Google decides to make the OS more than what the wristwatch is capable of or the resolution standard increases to more than your wristwatch is capable of, what then? Sell it and get the new larger 16GB more resolution model right?
        Built in obsolescence.
        Good little drone, buy, buy, buy.
        Oh, there is the relevance case you miss the point again.

        • steveb944

          So your defense is the way the WHOLE technology ecosystem works. The only OS seen to do an okay job thus far has been Windows, but their mobile OS is still in its infancy.

          Truth of the matter is, Google has been the only one to actually extend backwards compatibility in their OS because resource consumption has been reduced with updates. Let’s see someone else do the same, oh wait everyone else is selling hardware AND software, they want you to buy sooner.

          What other mobile watch OS are you going to go with? The ones that release software updates tied to their new hardware ONLY.

  • 2node

    Early and often? These devices have been publicly available for 2 months now and really haven’t seen any significant update. Don’t get me wrong, I like my Gear Live, but it really does feel like I’m using production-level hardware with very beta software.

    • Clarence Searles

      I’d say 2 mos is pretty fast for an update that adds functionality and not just bug/security fixes. I mean besides the occasional release day update even the nexus phones don’t get functionality updates that fast and not on any regular basis. I don’t disagree the software feel is lacking, but that’s usually par for the course when you’re an early adopter of new technology.

  • shooter50

    Maybe they can update that ugly hardware. Every watch released to date looks like crap. Take the LG watch. What moron thought putting the weather in white on a black watch face would induce people to buy this piece of junk. I realize thats software related, but the watches themselves are so ugly and cheap looking. There is a market for a high quality watch and whether Motorola taps that market with their phantom watch remains to be seen. My take is that the 250.00 range is the low end market just like in phones. I hope some manufacturer realizes not everyone is cheap or poor and release a high quality device at a price to match. Don’t give us any more oversize rectangular watches that look like a Moto G with a strap. MY God, who would wear those unsightly things???.

    • Robabobbob

      If enough people buy into the platform and it becomes mainstream then I’m sure prestige manufacturers (TAG, Rolex, Breitling…) will either manufacture or team up with tech companies to produce high end watches. As with the non-smart watch market there is place for both the mass market cheaper watches and smaller high end market.

  • mreveryphone

    t9 text input. it works great on the smartwatch 2 to be able to reply to short sms messages ,and you don’t want to look weird talking to your wrist in quiet environments. Yes I already know …just pull out my phone but that would defeat the purpose of having a smartwatch…

  • Delmar

    Can i check my twitter pls ?