U.S. Samsung Galaxy Gear Now Receiving Software Update Bringing Expanded Notifications
Samsung is in the midst of pushing out a largely-requested firmware update for the U.S. version all of its Galaxy Gear smartwatch. This upgrade brings users the ability to activate “Expanded Notifications”, in addition to the usual deluge of bug fixes, stability improvements and speed optimizations that the South Korean company bundles into all of its maintenance updates.
Prior to this upgrade, the Gear could only alert the wearer when a notification was received from a third party app, unfortunately, it could not physically display its content. This meant that users had to take out their phone and manually open the notification — which, I’m sure you will agree, completely invalidated the advantage of having the notification sent to your wrist in the first place.
Thankfully, Samsung has heard our cries for help and has included a line of code in this latest update, which enables the Gear to receive “real notifications.” However, to enable these notifications you will need to have the latest version of the Gear Manager app installed on your Android-powered device. Once installed, open up the app, head into settings and check the box to enable Expanded Notifications.
As a result, notifications from third-party applications are now automatically pushed to the Gear, without users having to install any type of sketchy, unauthorized software. Unfortunately, we still won’t have the facility to reply to notifications from our wrist just yet, but hopefully this is a feature that Samsung will bundle into the next maintenance upgrade, which won’t be rolled out until next year.
In addition to the implementation of Expanded Notifications, the MK7 update also brings a bunch of other stability improvements and bug fixes — some of which can be seen below:
- Improved range and connection: Samsung says the Gear can now stray a little farther from the phone before losing its connection. The automatic connection feature has been improved as well.
- Improved battery life. Again, that addresses one of the chief complaints about the Gear. We’ll have to see how much longer it lasts.
- S Voice search should be faster.
If you get an error message informing you that “the maximum number of roll-outs has been exceeded” when trying to update your Gear over-the-air, do not despair. Simply plug your device into your computer, download the Samsung KIES desktop software and install the upgrade manually via a USB cable.