Android Wear to get Wi-Fi support and gesture controls in next update

Android Wear on the Moto 360. Photo: Google.

Android Wear on the Moto 360. Photo: Google.

It seems Google is already gearing up to address one of the advantages Apple Watch has over Android Wear by allowing compatible wearables to receive notifications over Wi-Fi. A future update will also bring gesture controls, sources say.

Wi-Fi support is one of the Watch advantages I noted in yesterday’s Apple Watch vs. Android Wear comparison. By enabling communication over Wi-Fi, smartwatches can receive notifications and use features like Google Now even when their Bluetooth connection to a phone is broken.

Although this isn’t available on Wear yet, most devices already have Wi-Fi built-in, so enabling it would take a simple software update. And according to The Verge, it’s one of the things Google will address in its upcoming Wear releases.

“Along with the Wi-Fi update, there will be at least two additional, smaller updates,” The Verge claims. “The first is gesture control. Users will be able to flick their wrist to scroll through notifications and Google Now cards, rather than needing to use their other hand to swipe on the screen.”

Sources say Google will also make some visual improvements to Wear’s user interface, which will make it easier to access apps and contacts.

There’s no mention of that rumored iPhone support, which could really help Wear beat the Apple Watch on its own turf. But we still shouldn’t rule it out — at least not until Google does.