Google has officially announced the latest update to Android Wear this morning bringing the version number up to 1.4. The update of course includes the latest version of the operating system, 6.0 Marshmallow, but also brings along with it quite a few new features.
First of all the update introduces a handful of new hands-free gestures you can perform. Since early 2015 you’ve been able to go through your cards by flicking your wrist forward or backward, but now there are a few more. First of all you can expand a card to read its full contents. This is done by “pushing” in a downward motion. To go back to the standard cards list, just do the opposite.
There are also some new gestures you can perform from the watch face. The first allows you to open up your apps list by first holding the watch out in front of you and then quickly motioning down. To open the settings menu you can slowly turn the watch away from your body and then quickly flick it back. Lastly you can get back to the watchface by quickly shaking the watch back and forth a couple of times.
One of the biggest features regards official speaker support. You’ll now be able to make and take phone calls directly from your watch as long as it supports a speaker. At the moment the only models that do support this include the Huawei Watch, ASUS ZenWatch 2, and the cancelled LG Watch Urbane LTE 2nd Edition. The speaker will also be able to deliver audio messages from select applications such as Glide.
The last big addition to this update is the addition of some new voice commands. One of the biggest highlights of Android Wear is its voice integration, but now it’s been improved to make it easier to send messages out. Now simply ask the watch to “send a Hangouts message to Andrew, what’s up?”, and it will send it through that service rather than over SMS as it previously did. Other messaging services that will support this include WhatsApp, Nextplus, Telegram, Viber, WeChat.
Android Wear 1.4 will be hitting all Android Wear devices in the coming weeks and will come out of the box on recently announced watches such as the Women’s Huawei Watch variants and the new Casio Outdoor Watch.