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Android Wear update adds offline GPS and music playback

The latest Android Wear update is rolling out, adding support for built-in GPS sensors and offline content – bad news for Will.I.Am…

This means that any wearables using the Android Wear platform no longer need to be tethered to a smartphone in order to track routes or give directions, or even play music – a major bonus that few smartphones currently boast.

Sony’s Smartwatch 3 will join the Android Wear program too, to take advantage of these new features.

In addition to the brand new GPS capability, which will help you to get home at 3am when you’re comfortably soused and your phone is dead, Android Wear will also now support on-board music storage. Of course, none of the current batch of supported smartwatches have headphone ports or speakers, but they do have Bluetooth support for connecting to wireless headphones.

The only other issue is built-in storage, with most current watches trimming back to cut down on size. Perhaps this update means we’ll see more fat wrist rockets emerge, packing lots of storage for your full media collection.

Still, the Android Wear update is great news for anyone who wishes to use their smartwatch as a standalone device – let’s face it, going for a run or a bike ride with a smartphone in your pocket is never hugely convenient, especially with ever-increasing screen sizes.

Bad news for rapper Will.I.Am and his new Puls watch though, which he claims to be one of the best standalone devices on the market. The Apple Watch is set to be very much dependant on being tethered to a smartphone too, which could make Android Wear devices the smarter choice for fitness enthusiasts in the long run.

There’s no official word on when the update will be rolling out across the four Android Wear devices, including the LG G Watch R, but it’s likely to be within the next few days. And with the Sony SmartWatch 3 due to ship at the end of this month, we’ll we interested to see how the update performs in real-world situations. 

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