Google’s Android Wear platform will indeed receive some major improvements later this year. The search giant on Friday laid out the juicy details on its blog, detailing things like offline music playback, GPS support and the addition of downloadable watch faces. With Android Wear gaining many more suitors this week at IFA, smart watch hopefuls will have a lot to look forward later this year.
There aren’t many surprises here. Google is hitting some of the early criticisms people had with Android Wear. Offline music playback and GPS support are two major additions, and will be especially welcome by runners and bikers. You can now leave your phone at home, but still listen to your favorite album right from your watch while linked up with Bluetooth headphones. And if your smartwatch includes a GPS sensor, you’ll be able to track stats like speed, distance and the exact route you took around the neighborhood.
The other major update will be the ability to enable downloadable watch faces, allowing consumers to more easily customize their device. The current crop of Android Wear devices already offer some pretty slick watch faces, but the addition of third-party alternatives will definitely be a liked feature by those who enjoy tinkering and getting the exact look they want. Google previously said it would provide tool kits to developers, who will then make their watch faces available on Google Play.
All of the recently announced (and existing) Android Wear devices will get the updates, so there’s going to be an even playing field.
“We’re also working with our partners on even more improvements, which means your device will continue to get better, with updates provided directly to you,” said David Singleton, Engineering Director for Android Wear.
It’s clear Android Wear needs to be improved, and it sounds like Google is working quickly to introduce new features. Google doesn’t say exactly when the updates will go live, though we’ve heard it could be as early as next month.