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Google to add GPS and Bluetooth headset support along with support for 3rd-party watch faces

Google’s Android Wear operating system for smartwatches is already pretty capable (well, as capable as you can expect for devices with sub-2” screens), but the company is preparing to further flesh out the platform with a series of updates.
 
Google is currently working on a toolkit that will allow third-party developers do build their own custom watch faces for smartwaches, a move which seems like a logical progression for users who want to branch out from the watch faces provided by default from Google and the device OEM.
 
“For example, if you're taking a hike, maybe it's interesting to out the specific distance you've traveled right there on the watch face,” Director of Engineering for Android Wear David Singleton in an interview with CNET. “If you're someone who cares about a specific stock or specific score of a sports team, maybe you can have a sports team watch face and put their latest score right there on the watch face.”
 
The watch faces would be downloadable from their own section within the Google Play Store.


LG G Watch R
 
Other little updates will include support for Bluetooth headsets, so runners can listen to music stored on their smartwatch without having to bring a smartphone along for the trip. Future updates will also support devices with integrated GPS functionality, which is a move that would allow users to further distances themselves from their smartphones.
 
Samsung’s Gear S smartwatch features integrated A-GPS/Glonass support, but that device runs the lightweight Tizen operating system.
 
Google plans to add support for third-party watch faces, GPS, and Bluetooth headset support by the end of 2014. However, the company will release an update for Android Wear this week that will “improve the navigation experience and some of the voice action experience,” according to Singleton.
 
This week will also see the launch of at least three Android Wear smartwatches: the Motorola Moto G, the LG G Watch R, and the ASUS ZenWatch.

Updated September 5, 2014 @ 2:29pm
Google has officially announced its plans to expand the functionality of Android Wear devices:

First, we're bringing offline music playback and GPS support to Android Wear. Go for a run or bike ride with your Android wearable and leave your phone at home. You’ll be able to listen to music stored on your watch via Bluetooth headphones. And if your watch includes a GPS sensor, you can track your distance and speed too. 

The second update will enable downloadable watch faces, so you can customize the visual design of your watch's home screen to show the information you want to see most—like your calendar or fitness sensors. Developers will soon be working on watch faces, making them available on Google Play.

Source: CNET





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