Android Wear update will reportedly enable Wi-Fi notifications and gesture controls

Google is gearing up to make your existing watch more capable as the Apple Watch nears

Yesterday’s Apple Watch event might have had some startling pricing info, but it also did an effective job of showing just how capable the company’s wearable device will be. And Android Wear can’t help but look a bit simple by comparison.

For the moment, at least. But Google has plans to add significant functionality to the existing crop of Android Wear smartwatches, reports The Verge. According to its source, Google plans to add Wi-Fi functionality to the devices to allow them to receive notifications and use Google Now.

That means when your phone and watch aren’t in Bluetooth proximity to each other, the wearable will still be able to field email alerts and let you search with your voice - so long as it's connected to a Wi-Fi network. That’s great for when you’re at home, but your phone doesn’t stay in your pocket at all times.

Android Police notes that the Snapdragon chip that powers many of the Android Wear watches has a Wi-Fi module that’s currently not being used, as does the ARM chip in the Sony SmartWatch 3. It’s not clear if the Moto 360 has the hardware, although it’d be surprising to see Google roll out a feature that leaves out what’s become the most iconic of early Wear watches.

Furthermore, Google plans to introduce gesture controls, letting you flick your wrist to zip through cards and notifications, along with other UI enhancements that should make watch apps a lot easier to locate.

All of that sounds great, ensuring that the current generation of Android Wear watches still has some room to grow. That is, before the inevitable next wave makes some surely larger strides.

[Sources: The VergeAndroid Police]