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Android Wear update will bring GPS, watch faces and offline music

Good news if you’ve treated yourself to one of the new Android Wear smartwatches, because Google has confirmed that a couple of software updates will appear before the year is out. The upgrades will include GPS capabilities, a choice of watch faces for all devices, offline music playback and a variety of other improvements.

“Coming throughout the rest of this year, we’re making some updates to Wear that will help you get even more out of your watch — and the rest of your life, too,” writes Google’s David Singleton in a blog post. “[Android Wear watches] will all get the new software updates described above as soon as they’re ready in the coming months. We’re also working with our partners on even more improvements, which means your device will continue to get better, with updates provided directly to you.”

Related: We scored a fully functioning LG G Watch R and put it through its paces

GPS support means you’ll be able to track your position and speed without the aid of a phone (if your watch has a GPS sensor, of course), while offline music playback and Bluetooth headphone support further remove the need to take a mobile handset everywhere you go. The idea is that joggers, for example, can set off for a run around the park with just an Android Wear smartwatch.

As for swappable watch faces, these are currently specific to each device and switching between them isn’t a particularly intuitive process. The forthcoming software update should make the process much more straightforward and bring the same designs to all smartwatches running Android Wear.

With Asus and Sony getting in on the Android Wear action, there are now a good number of Google-powered smartwatches to choose from. Frequent, substantial updates on the software side will help these devices compete against the iWatch, widely expected to be unveiled on September 9.