The popular Moto 360 smartwatch is arguably one of the better Android Wear devices available today, but sadly it’s one of the last to receive the hotly anticipated update to the latest Android 5.1.1 Lollipop software with loads of bug fixes and new features. We can now officially confirm the update is rolling out as of late last night.
Over the past few weeks or month Google’s latest update for its wearable operating system has rolled out to almost all Android Wear smartwatches, but Motorola delayed it until today. They cited poor performance and battery issues, but those have reportedly been fixed and it should arrive for all owners today, or over the weekend.
One of Google’s own employee’s took to Google+ yesterday to confirm the update has officially been accepted, will start hitting a small percentage of users smartwatches today, and continue with a more broad rollout over the weekend. Read on for everything you need to know.
Wayne Piekarski, a Googler, confirmed everything on Google+. Stating the update will start as of June 18th, and the slow staggered rollout will gradually arrive for more and more Moto 360 owners over the next few days. So if you don’t get it today, remain patient, as it should arrive soon enough.
Android 5.1.1 Lollipop for Android Wear devices like the Moto 360 introduces tons of new features that should make the wearable devices much more usable, and not depend on a nearby connected smartphone to function. This is the biggest change and most important one, giving it more power to battle the new Apple Watch.
For all the details on the latest Android Wear update, Google’s released this website with a full changelog. They’ve added new always-on apps, which will use WiFi to operate instead of solely relying on a smartphone to function. Google’s added a new gestures for scrolling through cards, and a much more refined list of apps, and contacts menu. The flip gestures are pretty neat, and here’s a video showing them in action.
With WiFi connectivity Android Wear devices running Android 5.1.1 Lollipop will instantly learn your home WiFi information from a connected smartphone, and when the phone bluetooth connection is lost, it immediately connects to home WiFi. This enables apps to continue to run, receive alerts and updates, and the watch to work without a phone connected. Essentially making Android Wear it’s own device, rather than only a watch when it isn’t connected to a phone. This is one of the biggest new features many owners will enjoy.
With this apps will continue to run even when a phone isn’t connected, users can continue conversations over Google Hangouts, search the web with Google Now voice actions for weather alerts, and much more all on its own.
Android 5.1.1 and the new Android Wear app also allows for multiple devices in Android Wear. So if owners have the Moto 360, and the new LG G Watch Urbane, both devices can be used, managed, and controlled with Android Wear. Instead of only one at a time.
Another big feature is lockscreen security on Android Wear. The same pattern unlock from Android has been added to Android Wear, protecting sensitive information on our watches and keeping them from turning on and running without a users consent. This was one of our biggest complaints to Android Wear, and another feature we’re glad to see arrive. Heads-up notifications, emojis, watch face swaps are easier, and the new launcher are a few more of many features you can expect to see after the update completes.
Those with a Moto 360 can expect the update to arrive today, or over the next few days. Users can also head into settings > about > system updates and checking for updates manually.