Android Wear 1.4 is Google’s latest update for smartwatches that run on their OS and brings two important improvements to the way we can interact with the device. The update enables the smartwatch to detect and interpret hand and wrist gestures so that a user can control the device or navigate through the screens simply by moving the hand. This is very useful if you don’t have the other hand free to tap or swipe on the screen. The other upgrade is audio feedback and future calling support. If you own a smartwatch with a speaker you will be able to receive notifications or spoken alerts directly from your watch.
One aspect of this update that some users might not appreciate is the removal of the battery status screen. Users who checked their battery status, level and different statistics will miss that function and there is no sign of Google bringing it back with future updates. In the “Privacy and personal data sub screen, we see a new feature that sends diagnostic information to Google. When first installing that update this feature is disabled.
The gestures use to control the watch:
- See the first card: if the watch is dim, tilt the face towards you to wake it up. Then, quickly flick your wrist away from you then slowly turn it back towards you to bring the card up;
- Scroll to the next card: quickly flick wrist away from you, then slowly turn back towards you;
- Scroll back a card: slowly turn your wrist away from you then quickly flick it back towards you;
- To see more details or take an action: being on the main screen, hold your arm in front of you and quickly push down, then bring it on normally to the original position;
- To go back: hold your arm in front of you and quickly pivot up, and bring it back normally to the original position;
- Pull down settings from the watch face: when on the main watch face screen, slowly turn wrist away from you then quickly flick back towards you;
- To return to the watch face: hold your arm in front of you and shake or jiggle your wrist out and in quickly a couple of times.
Regarding the second feature of this update, the option for audio alerts, the device must have a speaker built in and only a few smartwatches have this piece of hardware. Among them, are the LG Watch Urbane 2nd Edition, Huawei Watch, and the Asus ZenWatch2. The update brings useful features though at first a person doing these gestures on the street might look funny, but I’m sure they will prove to be useful.