If you are an Android Wear user then, chances are, that you knew an update to the Android Wear companion app began its rollout yesterday. Of course, it didn’t take long before the guys over at Android Police tore the APK of the updated app apart to take a look at whats hiding in the depths of the code, and what they found is some pretty interesting stuff coming in the near future.
The first interesting code that Android Police found was some code that pointed to a way to possibly preview watchfaces along with possible different notification card sizes. None of the strings of code that hint to these two additions are actually currently in use so it will be interesting to see if they stick around or not. Although, both of these features seem very logical and will more than likely see the light of day in the future. Android Police also made mention of a much-desired feature that they spotted in the code, volume control from your Android Wear device. That’s right, you may sooner than later be able to control the volume of your media playing on your smartphone right from your Android Wear device natively without an app, a feature that many people have wanted for a long time. You can currently do this with downloaded apps Wear Music Controller and Music Boss.
There is no doubt that the version 1.0.2 Android Wear app hinted at some pretty darn cool little feature additions but things get a little more interesting. NFC support, yes you read that correctly, Android Wear may support NFC in the future according several mentions of NFC in the code of the Android Wear app. But keep in mind that none of the current and upcoming Android Wear smartwatches have the hardware to support NFC, so that is something that probably won’t come about until early next year when the next generation of Android Wear devices are born. There are also mentions of location services being added to Android Wear, whether or not this will be to support smartwatches equipped with GPS or if Google plans to take it a step further by allowing your smartwatch to get your current location without a smartphone is unknown at this time.
Now we come to the two Android Wear features that keep getting mentioned and keep showing up in the code more and more, Personal Unlock and Google Fit. Both features will be huge additions to Android Wear that will add a significant amount of functionality. Personal Unlock will allow proximity-based unlocking, essentially, if you have your Android Wear smartwatch within Bluetooth-range of your smartphone it will disable your lockscreen. As for Google Fit, it pretty much speaks for itself, the update to it on Android Wear will add much needed fitness tracking capabilities to Android Wear devices on top of the heart rate tracking and step tracking that already exist.
When it comes to actual new features that were added to Android Wear in the 1.0.2 update, there were virtually none. But the updated app SDK did give us a pretty good idea of Android Wear’s future capabilities and lets just say that we are very pleased with what we see. As of now Android Wear devices don’t really give us much of a use-case other than easily checking notifications but from what we see in the code of the updated Android Wear app, it won’t be too long before an Android Wear device will be a must-have.