Android Wear can now use mobile data - fly free from your smartphone!
Android Wear has received a major update which will allow certain models to operate using their own data, rather than having to pair with a smartphone.
Wearables are finally here, and in such numbers and variety that they're finally starting to gain some traction with mainstream users. And the technology can be great, giving you important information at a glance and allowing you essentially wear a sophisticated computer on your wrist. Some models even let you make phone calls!
But one of the biggest issues with smartwatches and wearables in general right now is that, in order to access their best features, you also have to lug around your smartphone. The two have to be paired to access any kind of data connection and all the included fancy features. That's sometimes a chore, especially for those who simply want to use their watch as an activity tracker during a run and might have a personal phone that's a bit on the large side. Thankfully, it's all about to change.
Google has just announced that Android Wear device will soon have cellular support, letting you fly free from your smartphone. That means that certain models will be able to connect to a data network, like your phone does on 3G or 4G. And from there it will be able to pair with your smartphone, even if the two are very far apart indeed!
So if you leave your phone in the office over lunch, you'll still get your text messages relayed via mobile data - and you'll be able to respond. You can track your fitness and even ask Google questions, without being anywhere near your phone.
It sounds like a brilliant way to make smartphones even better but there are some factors to take into account. For one thing, you'll have to use a second sim card for the smartwatch, which could potentially mean paying extra for data depending on how the networks decide to handle this emerging market. And as of right now there isn't a single Android Wear model which has the right hardware to run without a phone. The first will be the LG Watch Urbane 2nd Edition LTE. Which has a very awkward name and is only coming out to the US this week, with no confirmed release date in the rest of the world.
Still, the technology is here and we'll all get a chance to play with our watches without a phone. Eventually...