This week Google aims to disconnect the smartwatch from the phone – so to speak. Amongst a collection of features appearing on the newest Android Wear update, this week “phone free” functionality comes to the smartwatch. As long as your phone is online, connected with Wi-Fi or cellular data, and your smartwatch is connected to the web, they’ll be able to function together. Time to leave your smartphone at home – for real, this time. Just so long as your Android Wear device can function in this way, of course.
NOTE: The Apple Watch works with something similar to Android Wear – just as long as both devices are connected to the same Wi-Fi network, they’ll remain connected. Android Wear’s solution does not need to be on the same Wi-Fi network, nor do they both need to be using Wi-Fi. Just so long as the watch is connected to the web with Wi-Fi and the smartphone is connected to the web some way or another, the watch will retain the same functionality.
This Wi-Fi functionality won’t necessarily work on your Android Wear device – we’re in the process of compiling a list of devices that will work with Wi-Fi, and which ones won’t.
If your device DOES work with Wi-Fi, you’ll be able to use it physically independent of your smartphone. The smartwatch will still be reliant on the smartphone to bring you internet-based bits and pieces, however.
You will get information from your smartphone if both your smartphone and your watch are connected to the internet. They do not need to be on the same network.
At this time we’re testing to see which pieces of the data puzzle are being delivered by the smartphone and which pieces are being delivered by Google straight to the smartwatch – because they COULD be different. Most everything, we suspect, comes from the smartphone.
Also at this time we’re testing the battery impact this connection has compared to a direct Bluetooth-based connection.