Google has promised standalone music playback over Bluetooth as part of Android Wear for some time, and it appears with Wear version 4.4W2 we're finally getting it, at least if you use Play Music (you're also getting new playback controls). If you're using the latest Play Music APK on your Android phone and have the Android 4.4W2 update on your smartwatch, you can now download your pinned music from your smartphone to your watch.
We spotted it in a teardown of the new material Play Music app this morning, but it looks like a new set of media controls in Android Wear are live - and here's exactly what they look like.
The new controls get a red-themed makeover and volume +/- buttons, plus a nifty kind of physical remote key animation. It's nice. For Play Music, these new controls require two things: the material version of Play Music (which contains an updated mini APK for Wear with these controls) and the 4.4W2 update to Wear, which is rolling out to some devices now, like the LG G Watch.
Android 4.4W.2 is slowly rolling out to various Wear devices this week, and my G Watch R review unit just received it earlier this afternoon. A couple of commenters have pointed out a new feature in W2 that we hadn't yet noticed - you can now hide notifications, as opposed to dismissing them, directly from the watchface.
Back in September, we heard Google's official plans to update Android Wear and add more functionality to the platform and its watches. The first update promised to bring GPS and offline music playback capabilities, so that Wear watches could be used without a phone to track activities and listen to tunes via Bluetooth. The second update is supposed to add native support for watch faces. And it looks like LG's G Watch is the first Android Wear device to start benefiting from these additions.
Look, $200+ is a lot to pay for a watch, especially when you've been wearing the same $30 Timex Ironman from Target for the last fifteen years. If you've been on the fence on the first generation of Android Wear devices, waiting for a good deal on at least one of them, then your time is now. Best Buy is selling the LG G Watch for $149.99, a full $80 off of the list price.
Amid a flurry of news from a certain (ahem) other watch today, it looks like the powers that be at Google have matched Best Buy's price for the LG G Watch. The Android Wear device is now being sold for $179.99 in the United States, a $50 reduction over the initial price. According to promotional text on the Play Store, this reduced price will only last until September 23rd.
At the moment the G Watch is in stock and leaving the warehouse in 1-2 days.
If you have neither a G Watch nor a Nexus 5 but want both and you live in the right market, Google has a deal for you. In certain countries, Google is offering up discounts on the Nexus 5 when you buy a G Watch. So far it looks like the deal is available in Europe and Australia, with the UK getting a £60 discount on the N5, other Europeans receiving an €80 price break, and Australians shaving AUS$100 off 2013's Nexus phone, a device that already competed on price.
To tell the truth, the first round of Android Wear devices aren't all that expensive if you think of them as luxury watches. But if you think of them as notification-based accessories for your $500 smartphone, yeah, they're pretty pricey. Big box retailer Best Buy is here to alleviate some of that sticker shock with a sale on the LG G Watch. You can pick up the black or white/gold version for $179.99 right now, $50 off the retail price.
After a few teases of its premium follow-up to the G Watch, LG has finally let loose official details for the G Watch R. The immediate takeaways: a 1.3" P-OLED [Plastic Organic LED] display, stainless steel body, a heart-rate monitor, leather strap, Q4 availability in "key markets" and, not surprisingly, no pricing at this time.
As far the insides go, this is basically still just the G Watch. It has the same Snapdragon 400 CPU, the same 4GB of storage, the same 512MB of RAM, the same IP67 rating, and a very-slightly-larger 410mAh battery (compared to 400mAh in the G Watch).