Android Wear smartwatches are about to get a lot more feature packed with the new Android Wear version 5.1.1. Currently, the LG Watch Urbane is the only smartwatch to feature and run the new operating system out of the box. But rest assured, if you want a new Moto 360 or an LG G Watch R, they will receive the update over the course of the next couple of months. So definitely stay tuned for that. With that said, sit back and relax because I’m going to go overall with the new improvements and features found on the new Android Wear operating system here on PhoneDog.com.
Wi-Fi is one of the biggest new additions to this version of Android Wear but it’s only activated on watches who have Wi-Fi antennas like the Moto 360, the Watch Urbane, and the Sony SmartWatch 3. It can be activated in the settings here and will allow you to continue to receive notifications when you’re out of reach from your smartphone, assuming you’re connected to Wi-Fi of course. It’s a really neat feature and really does improve the overall experience of wearing a Wearable.
We also have support for an official app launcher by Google, which we can access by simply swiping to the left. It’s pretty simple, you can just scroll through the apps here. You don’t have to install a separate app or app launcher like you previously had to do. And you can easily launch an app of your choice.
What’s also here is a Find My Phone function, which as the name applies, will make your phone ring if it’s in the near vicinity even if your phone is on silent. So if you misplace your phone but you happen to be wearing your Android Wear smartwatch, you can find your phone assuming it’s nearby.
With an extra swipe to the left, from the app drawer of course, you have a Contacts list in a similar format as the app drawer. So you can easily find the contact and call or text them.
Android Wear version 5.1 also allows for developers to take advantage of the new Always-On feature, which you can turn on in the settings. It currently only works with select apps like Google Keep and Google Maps right now. But the list will definitely grow in the future. It’s pretty useful though as it will turn Google Keep, for example, black and white when you’re not actively looking at your watch. It’s technically called Ambient Mode but it’s designed to take advantage of OLED displays and just save battery life. You will need to have Always-On mode activated in the settings. But overall, I really like this feature because it just makes things much more convenient. I don’t have to unlock my watch or tap on a screen. I can just look down and glance at the information I need.
You can also use emojis with Android Wear when you send messages. So you dictate whom you want to send a message to and when it prompts you to speak your message, you can scroll down to the emoji section and draw the emoji you want and it’ll give you the corresponding emoji. If it’s not quite the one you’re looking for, you can always continue to scroll down to find the exact emoji you want to send. But emojis are pretty awesome. I think you guys will agree. So I’m glad to see that you can send them now using an Android Wear smartwatch.
Gesture Support is a big, new addition with version 5.1. Just by flicking your wrist, you can now scroll through notifications. You never have to touch the display. This is one of my favorite features because it just makes sense. Wearables are meant to be used on the go and you shouldn’t necessarily need a free hand to access the information on your watch. So you could say that I’m glad this feature is implemented.
Screen lock is also a new feature that locks your watch when you’re not wearing it. It’s a pattern lock that you can set and you’ll be prompted to enter it when you’re not wearing your Android Wear watch. It’s a little bit hard to enter on a small screen but it does add an extra layer of security and protection of your personal information. So I’m all for it.
So there you guys have it—8 new features and improvements found in the new Android Wear operating system version 5.1.1. There’s a lot of new improvements, a lot of new features, so let me know what your favorite feature is by leaving me a comment down below.