Wearable Tech World Feature Article
April 20, 2015

Android Wear to Receive Updated UI and Gesture Control

A recent industry blog post shows off some of the new features that could be coming to Android Wear – the version of Android made specifically for smartwatches and other wearables.

Until now, Tech Crunch wrote this week, Android Wear has suffered from some deficiencies regarding how users had to sift through menus to get to content they wanted. Updates to the platform, however, could fix its muddy nature. The introduction of a new user interface flow is the improvement most related to the retrieval of content. Instead of searching through menus for a third-party app; users can now just swipe once to the left for a complete list of apps. One more left swipe will take a user to a list of contacts. A third swipe will show a set of tools such as a timer or notepad.

Once a user has activated an app, it can be helpful to have access without waking up the device. In contrast, it is also desirable to save battery life, so Android had previously made the OS go to sleep after a certain length of time when there was no activity. Now, users can insist that certain apps stay active as long as the watch or wearable is turned on and the app is in use. Tech Crunch points to fitness apps as potential beneficiaries here. Business apps used in the field, such as a utilities diagnostic or construction project tool, could also benefit users because their attention may waver to other tasks but could need information from apps in short order.

Android Wear will still attempt to spare battery life by going to a monochrome readout after a period of time. After the change in color, the display will still be active, but the lack of color could reduce the strain on the battery.

Business officials could also benefit from new wrist flicking gestures that will cycle through notifications. One flick forward, away from the body, will move to the next notification. One flick toward the body will move backward in the list. Officials could easily move through a series of important text messages or notes made on the job just by flicking their wrists.

The newest Android Wear will also come with support for Wi-Fi. If a user's smartwatch has a Wi-Fi chip built in, Android Wear can connect to the Internet and relay any notification sent to the user's phone no matter how far away the phone is. No need for each device to be in proximity of one another; no need for Bluetooth.

These new features are set to come first to the LG Watch Urbane. In the coming weeks, all other watches with Android Wear should receive the updates.

Edited by Maurice Nagle

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