Android Wear 5.1.1 update begins for wearables

Via its Android Wear Help Forum, Google has announced an update for Android Wear that brings new features. These include:

  • Always-on apps: You can set it so the app always stays visible even when you lower your arm
  • A new launcher and wrist gestures: Swiping left from the watch face allows access to apps and contacts. Wear also responds to specific navigation gestures. For example, you can scroll through cards with a flick of the wrist.
  • Draw emojis: In messages, you can send emojis to your contacts by drawing them on the screen. The watch then will recognize which emoji you drew. To activate, simply select “Draw emoji” whenever you make a message.
  • Heads-up notifications: Notifications will appear on-screen even if you are looking at something else on your watch.
  • Watch switching: Android smartphones can be paired with more than one watch now
  • Font size changing
  • Watch screen locking: Activated via the “Screen lock” feature in the settings. When it is turned on, the watch locks if it detects you’re not wearing it or if it loses access to your phone for some time. Enter in your designated swipe pattern to unlock it.

In addition, Wi-Fi support is available in this update. As of the time of this post, only the LG Watch Urbane, Moto 360, Sony Smartwatch 3, and Samsung Gear Live are capable of this feature.

To enable it, go to the Android Wear companion app and:

  1. Go to settings
  2. Click the Cloud sync icon
  3. Turn it on

The Android Wear team notes that this is a rolling release that is gradually rolling out over a few weeks. If you do not receive an update to the watch, just wait a while as it will arrive.

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