The latest version of Google's mobile operating system for wearable devices, Android Wear 5.1.1, has started rolling out, with owners of the LG G Watch and the LG G Watch R among the first ones to receive the highly anticipated update.
Users can manually check if their smartwatches are ready to download and install the update by going to the Settings menu of their devices and then looking for the System Updates option under About.
Google has previously confirmed Android Wear 5.1.1, but there was no major announcement made by the company regarding the updated wearable device operating system. Google posted the changes that can be expected from the update on the Android Wear Help Forum of the company's Product Forums.
Smartwatches upgrading their operating systems to Android Wear 5.1.1 will receive a new launcher to access apps and contacts for their devices, which can be accessed by swiping left across the display. Android Wear devices will also receive additional input options in the form of wrist gestures, such as scrolling through cards by flicking the user's wrist.
Android Wear 5.1.1 also gives users the ability to send emojis in response to messages and e-mails by drawing the emojis on the display of the smartwatch. The software will be able to recognize the emoji drawn by the user and will send it through whichever app the message is being sent through. To access the feature, users can tap the Draw Emoji option that comes up when replaying to a received message.
Android Wear 5.1.1 also allows apps to be always on, similar to the always-on screen of most smartwatches using the operating system. With the smartwatch's display always on, the user can always see the time, and with the option being expanded to apps, apps can now be made visible as long as they are needed by the user. This will be particularly helpful for apps focusing on navigation, fitness tracking and note taking.
Incoming notifications will also now begin to appear on the device's screen even when the user is doing something else. In addition, the size of the font used in the smartwatch's display can now be adjusted.
Android Wear 5.1.1 also features a new Screen Lock option that automatically locks the smartwatch's display when it detects that the user is not wearing the device or if the connection to the paired smartphone is lost.
The companion app for Android Wear also now allows Android smartphones to be paired with multiple Android Wear devices.
Lastly, Android Wear 5.1.1 will provide Wi-Fi support for smartwatches, but the feature will only be limited to the LG Watch Urbane, the Motorola Moto 360, the Sony Smartwatch 3 and the Samsung Gear Live.
Users of other Android Wear-based smartwatches manufactured by companies including ASUS, Sony and Motorola can expect to receive the update soon.