Google on Thursday announced its first major Android Wear update that adds new features and functionality to some existing devices, and will support new functions offered by a new crop of Android Wear products launching soon.
The new update will enable standalone support for GPS functionality in Android Wear devices that have their own GPS chip. The first such product is the Sony SmartWatch 3, which is up for pre-order from Verizon Wireless now and will be available from Google Play soon. With GPS, you’ll be able to head out for a run and leave your smartphone behind while also being able to track information like distance traveled, the route you ran and the speed at which you traveled. Google says Golfshot and MyTracks are the first apps to offer standalone GPS support for Android Wear.
Additionally, the new update finally allows users to take advantage of the built-in storage on their Android Wear devices. Most of the existing products have about 4GB of onboard storage, and you’ll now be able to load that up with songs. This will allow you to play music via a Bluetooth connection to speakers or wireless headphones without the need, again, to carry your smartphone with you at all times. It’s supported by a new version of Google Play music but Google told TechnoBuffalo that developers can take advantage of that option for other apps.
Google said that the G Watch, the Samsung Gear Live and the Moto 360 will “be updated to include the new features over the next few days.” We’ll know more once we’re able to give it a try, but we’re excited that Android Wear is taking its first big step toward a more powerful smartwatch platform.