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Android Wear set for updates but features will vary across models

If you're keen on joining the wearable technology revolution and snapping up one of the growing number of Android Wear smartwatches, make sure you check the specs first.

gadgets Updated: Sep 10, 2014 11:07 IST
Google

If you're keen on joining the wearable technology revolution and snapping up one of the growing number of Android Wear smartwatches, make sure you check the specs first.

That's because Google is about to push out two new software updates to the watches that will unlock some potentially very cool features. However, because they're dependent on hardware, not every intelligent timepiece currently on sale or waiting to come onto the market in time for Christmas will be able to support every new feature.

The first update, expected to roll out directly to Android Wear watches by October, will turn the devices into independent personal stereos and activity trackers that will work without being wirelessly connected to a smartphone.

"Go for a run or bike ride with your Android wearable and leave your phone at home. You'll be able to listen to music stored on your watch via Bluetooth headphones. And if your watch includes a GPS sensor, you can track your distance and speed too," explains David Singleton, Engineering Director, Android Wear in an accompanying blogpost.

The problem is that of the six Android Wear smartwatches currently on sale or about to go on sale, only one, the Sony Smartwatch 3, has GPS on board. So although all of the watches will be able to play offline music only Sony's latest will also work as an activity tracker.

In the same post Singleton also points out that the company is working with existing and new smartwatch makers to bring new features to the devices in the coming months.

The excitement is certainly building around smartwatches. The Motorola Moto 360, which officially launched at the IFA tech conference in Germany on Friday, has already completely sold out, Motorola tweeted, while warning that it had no idea when supplies would be replenished.

Chinese tech company Huawei has also confirmed that it is developing its first Android Wear smartwatch which will be coming in early 2015.

However, one company that isn't yet jumping on the wearables bandwagon is HTC. It has reportedly shelved plans to launch a smartwatch for the foreseeable future, according to unnamed sources that spoke to Pocket Lint.

The second update scheduled to roll out before the end of the year will work with all existing Android Wear smartwatches -- a host of custom watchfaces.