Smartwatches will now have WiFi support

As speculation continues on whether Google will develop any support for the Apple Watch, the tech giant has rolled out a new update for its Android Wear smartwatches.

Android wear smartwatch.

Google announced an update that will give new features to its Android Wear smartwatches and they include WiFi support, the ability to draw emojis and gesture control.

The additional functionalities get it closer to being in line with some of the Apple Watch’s capabilities, but Google doesn’t see them as synonymous features.

Android Wear users will now have the ability to reply messages by drawing. Unlike the Apple Watch, which sends the exact sketch, Android Wear translates the drawings into the corresponding emoji.

Android Wear is able to translate the sketches via a new handwriting tool Google launched last week. The company further says that users don’t have to be great artists for this to work.

The emoji drawings tool will be available on any app that has support for voice replies including text messages, hangouts and Whatsapp.

A more useful new feature is the WiFi support, which will offer users more flexibility as regards to using their smartwatches without needing to have their phones nearby. Presently, Android Wear smartwatches communicate with Android smartphones via Bluetooth, which has a 30-foot limit. WiFi capabilities will greatly expand that range.

Google is introducing several new features that will make it easier for users to access information and apps from their smartwatch. One of such new features is Always-on apps.

What this does is it keeps your apps visible on your watch until you close it, not when you drop your arm. Also, to save battery life, the screen only shows full colors when you’re actively looking at the screen.

The new update will be available on all seven Android Wear smartwatches, beginning with the new LG G Urbane which goes on sale from April 24. Then other models will follow – Moto 360, LG G Watch, LG G Watch R, Samsung Gear Live, Sony Smartwatch 3 and the Asus ZenWatch.

As for if Google is working on Android Wear support for iOS devices, the company said it had nothing to announce at this time.

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