Android Wear update new features and release date

With so much buzz around the Apple Watch launch, Google has retaliated somewhat with the news of an Android Wear update codenamed "Diamond". The new software will be available for smartwaches from LG, Motorola, Samsung, Sony and Asus bringing with it a bunch of new features. Read: The 13 best smartwatches.

Rolling out soon, Android Wear will get easier to use with always-on apps, gestures and Wi-Fi support. It was thought Google might announce iPhone support too but didn't mention it. However, our colleagues in the US have been told by a source with knowledge of Google's plans that the Android Wear app for iPhone is 'essentially finished' and is now awaiting approval from Apple.

Android Wear update: When will I get it?

Unfortunately, Google hasn't revealed much information about when Android Wear users will be updated to the new software saying that "These updates are coming to all seven Android Wear watches over the next few weeks, starting with the new LG Watch Urbane."

At least we know that all the devices will get it so keep an eye out for a notification on your Moto 360, G Watch, SmartWatch 3, ZenWatch or whatever device you have.

Android Wear update: New features

When you do get it, the latest update for Android Wear will bring a number of new features to your smartwatch including always-on apps, Wi-Fi support and gestures.

Always-on apps

You're probably accustomed to the always-on feature of your smartwatch, allowing you to tell the time without waking the screen up. Well this is being expanded to apps, too so they can stay on all the time instead of disappearing after a few seconds. However, the developer will have to choose to use this so it's not automatically a feature of every app.

Android Wear always-on apps

Google said the "screen is only full color when you're actively looking at it—so you get the info you need, and you save on battery life."

Switching it to black and white when you're not looking at it is a nice idea but we'd also like this to be an option for the entire operating system so you can switch to it in order to save battery life (and look retro).

Wi-Fi support

Some Android Wear watches have GPS support but those with Wi-Fi – such as the LG Watch Urbane - are about to get better. The Android Wear update means that you can use your watch with any Wi-Fi connection so it doesn't need to be connected to your phone.

Your companion device will need some form of data connection though, whether it's about your person or not. If so, you'll get notifications, be able to use apps and send messages plus ask your watch where your phone is located.

New gestures, launcher and emojis

Android Wear hasn't been employed the perfect navigation system and user interface but the Android Wear update brings a handy new gesture and launcher.

Instead of using the touchscreen to scroll through your feed of notifications and cards, you'll be able to flick your wrist to move down the list. Apps and contacts are now easier to access.

Android Wear update launcher

Touching the screen from the clock face will now open a new launcher showing your apps, swipe right to see contacts and swipe right again for the existing menu.

You might also be pleased to hear there is a new option to draw emojis. Simply sketch with your finger on the screen the emoji you want and Android Wear should recognise it so you can send it via message or text.

Android Wear draw emoji