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Google plans multiple Android Wear updates as Apple's wearable looms

Google plans multiple Android Wear updates as Apple's wearable looms


Bluetooth headset and GPS support in the works

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Google's first update to Android Wear is coming this week, and several more will follow it before the end of the year as Google moves to quickly iterate on its new wearable software platform. In an interview with CNET, two leading Android engineers lay out what we should expect to see in some future updates. This first one sounds as though it may not be much — just some navigation and voice control improvements — but a few useful features are coming down the road. That includes Google officially beginning to support custom watch faces from third-party developers: some developers have already figured out how to build them, but Google is working on a toolkit for developers that will allow watch faces to easily be made. Google previously teased details of this in a Google+ post.

Support for GPS and Bluetooth headsets is in the works

Future Android Wear updates will also allow its software to better take advantage of hardware that a watch has access to. That includes beginning to support both GPS and Bluetooth headsets. Google tells CNET that these two features might be used in conjunction by a runner, who would use GPS to track their run while listening to music stored on their watch over Bluetooth headphones, all without having a phone on them. These are by no means groundbreaking additions, but they show Google's interest in moving quickly to improve Android Wear, which may soon face some stiff competition from Apple. There's a good chance that this is why Google is interested in improving Wear at such a rapid pace — and why it's now detailing some of these planned improvements.

Google also tells CNET that thousands of apps have now been updated with support for Android Wear — many of which make Wear smartwatches a lot more useful too. You can see 12 of our favorite Android Wear apps here.