Android Wear is still in its infancy. Announced back in March, the first devices didn’t make it to market until July (developers that attended Google I/O were given Android Wear hardware in late June), and there’s still only a handful of watches running Google’s wearables OS. That will change in the next few months, as more companies embrace the smartwatch trend, and Google plans to keep things moving with several new updates in the next few months.
Speaking to CNet, director of Android engineering, David Singleton, revealed that Google plans to release an update that will allow users’ watches to interact with other devices on your body, like your Bluetooth headset. There will also be GPS support as well as the ability for third party watch faces, something Google has already promised would arrive later this year. Singleton’s vision allows for a world where you could go for a run without a smartphone, mapping the route using the GPS on your wrist and playing music stored on your watch through a Bluetooth headset.
As for the ability to interact with your other devices, we’re not sure when that will come. Singleton says several updates will arrive before the end of the year, though he doesn’t say which ones. Likely, it will be early next year before we see devices that utilize the features that require specific hardware (like GPS support).
Interestingly, though Google discouraged developers from pushing custom watch faces to the Google Play Store ahead of the release of an official watch face API, Singleton seems okay with current workarounds.
“[…] we’ve already seen tremendous innovation from some third parties who have been able to figure out how to do some of this on their own. And we’ve already seen excitement for building watch faces that allow you to express a bit of your own personal style, or really help you work in specific things you might be doing.”
With IFA kicking off tomorrow, we’re expecting smartwatches from Asus, LG, Samsung, Motorola, and Sony. These are just the companies that have made their plans to debut watches public, so there could be more we don’t know about. Regardless, Q4 will be all about the smartwatch, which means more people will be jumping on this new trend, which means it’s in Google’s best interest to get any planned updates out the door as soon as possible. With so many new users on the horizon, Google will want to give people the best experience possible.