Google on Thursday made a few big announcements pertaining to Android Wear, one of which is the addition of a significant feature many users have been waiting for. Writing on Google’s Android blog, Android Wear product manager Kenny Stoltz revealed that Google’s first major Android Wear update adds support for devices with stand-alone GPS, meaning that Wear smartwatches finally become useful in a variety of situations without the need to tether them to a smartphone.
Along the same vein, Android Wear will now be able to store music locally on supported devices so that users can connect a Bluetooth headset and listen to songs without a connected smartphone.
“Whether you’re training for a marathon or you just ride your bike on weekends, Android Wear is great for tracking things like route, distance and speed. But before today, you had to keep your phone close at hand,” Stoltz wrote in the blog post. “Starting today Wear supports watches with GPS sensors, so you can enjoy these features regardless of where your phone’s at.”
He continued, “Likewise with music. You want to be able to turn up the volume on your favorite tunes, but the fewer devices the better when you’re jogging ‘round the bend. Now you can store music on your watch, listen to it via Bluetooth headphones, and leave your phone at home.”
Finally, Google noted that the Android Wear-powered Sony SmartWatch 3 is available for preorder from Verizon Wireless beginning Thursday, and it just so happens to be the first Android Wear device with built-in GPS.