Android Wear Update Brings Wi-Fi, Emojis And Screen Lock

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Upgrade to Android Wear 5.1.1 finally arrives after several weeks delay

Google has officially revealed an update for Android Wear, which it hopes will make using smartwatches a more engaging experience.

Available from today, Android Wear 5.1.1. will provide wearable devices, including the Moto 360 and LG Watch Urbane, with a raft of new features, including the ability to connect to Wi-Fi networks independently.

This means that if the device loses the Bluetooth connection to its paired smartphone, it can still stay connected using Wi-Fi, meaning you can get notifications and use voice search on your watch throughout your home and work when you leave your phone in a different room.


Also included in the update are new gesture-based controls, allowing users to flick their wrist to scroll between cards, as well as the ability to access apps and contacts simply by swiping left from the watch face.

Users can now also send emojis via text, instant message or email by drawing on the screen, (pictured left) as well as being able to quickly adjust the font size via the device’s settings.

Also included is the option for certain apps to remain ‘always-on’ – staying visible for as long as they are needed (such as fitness tracking apps on a long run), heads-up displays for notifications even if you are accessing another function on the watch, and a new ‘screen lock’ function which locks the device’s screen when not being worn or when connection to your phone is lost.

The update was originally set to be released last month, but suffered several delays in adapting the software for separate devices.

The Wi-Fi support will only be available on the Moto 360, LG Watch Urbane, Sony Smartwatch 3 and Samsung’s Gear Live devices, but owners of other devices running Android Wear will simply need to update their companion app using the Play Store.

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