Bluetooth begone: Android Wear getting Wi-Fi support soon

The Apple Watch may have made waves at Monday's launch event, but Google isn't taking it lying down. The next software release of Android Wear – its operating system optimised for wearables – will turn on Wi-Fi support. This means that notifications and Google Now will work even when it can't connect to your phone over Bluetooth, if it's out of range or the phone's battery has died.

The Apple Watch already has this functionality, so Google is bringing its devices in line with Apple's.

More software tweaks are included in the update, a source tells The Verge. Gesture controls mean you can flick your wrist to scroll through notifications and Google Now cards instead of swiping the screen. Very handy, especially if you're holding a cup of coffee in your other hand.

Finally, the UI will also be tweaked to make it easier to access Android Wear apps and contacts.

Google certainly has a fight on its hands. While more expensive than most Android Wear watches, the Apple Watch is winning the war of column inches. If it can tie into Apple's ecosystem as well as the promo videos suggest, it will be a very tempting prospect indeed.

Apple has sold over 700 million iPhones since launching in 2007, so it won't be short of potential customers.

Both Android Wear and the Apple Watch only work with their respective smartphones. Though this could change soon – Google has hinted it will make Android Wear compatible with iOS devices in future.

If you want a smartwatch that works with both iOS and Android, you'll have to go for something like the Pebble Time or Withings Activite Pop. Both are considerably more limited than the Apple Watch and Android Wear models.

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