The next software update for Android Wear could introduce Wi-Fi support to supported smartwatches, according to a report. Smartwatches running the operating system may be able to work without relying on a Bluetooth connection to a smartphone in the future, along with gesture controls and some tweaks to the user interface to make navigation easier.
A source of The Verge claims this will be a simple connectivity tweak in software, as many watches already have Wi-Fi connectivity built in, with relatively few actually using it. In theory, this will allow users to stop using Bluetooth on their smartphone, as well as opening up the possibility for the smartwatch itself to connect to a local wireless network and receiving some notifications over the Internet directly.
The same update is also said to include gesture control, allowing the wearer to scroll through a collection of notifications and Google Now cards by flicking their wrist instead of touching the screen. While seemingly a novelty addition, using gestures to navigate may be useful when the user does not want to touch the screen at all, such as if they are holding another item or have dirty fingers. Other user interface tweaks to make access to apps and contacts simpler through the device are also touted.
The report declines to say when users can expect to receive the update on their smartwatches, but considering the upcoming release of the Apple Watch, it could be sooner rather than later.