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Android Wear gets GPS support, offline music in first major update

Android Wear gets GPS support, offline music in first major update


Sony's SmartWatch 3 to be the first Wear watch with GPS, available for preorder today

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Google promised that it would consistently improve Android Wear with a number of updates, and now the first major update is here. Announced today in a blog post, the update unlocks some key fitness functionality. It now supports watches with built-in GPS sensors, providing new tools to track your distance and speed independent of your phone. Additionally, with the new software, you'll be able to pair Bluetooth headphones, and offline music playback will also be enabled. And, of course, we're sure the Android Wear team has squashed some bugs along the way.

The Sony SmartWatch 3 is the first Android Wear watch with a dedicated GPS sensor, and it is available for preorder today for $249.99 from Verizon Wireless, with Google Play availability soon. Google says that today's updates will be pushed to the other Android Wear devices already available (Samsung's Gear Live, LG's G Watch, and Motorola's Moto 360) in the near future.

Sony SmartWatch 3

Smartwatch early adopters will likely appreciate the improvements, but what everyone really wants are custom watch faces. You'll have to wait a bit longer for those; last month, Google said an update with that feature would be available before the end of the year.

Google also says it is improving discoverability of Android Wear apps in Google Play with eight new categories of apps that have Android Wear features (Featured, Health & Fitness, Travel + Local, Social, Tools, Communication, Productivity, and More Apps). Google says that there are "tens of thousands" of apps enhanced for Wear at this point, with more coming every week.