As Apple prepares to start selling its Apple Watch later this week, Google has announced some new features for its Android Wear software, which is used by a variety of smartwatch makers. The most notable is support for built-in Wi-Fi. “As long as your watch is connected to a Wi-Fi network, and your phone has a data connection (wherever it is),
you’ll be able to get notifications, send messages, and use all your favourite apps,” explained Google – essentially, this is about smartwatches that function as independent wireless devices rather than requiring a smartphone within Bluetooth distance. Other new features include the ability for apps to remain on-screen “for as long as you need them” and new gestures like flicking your wrist to scroll through news and notifications.