Android Wear is a platform in progress, as evidenced by Google’s continual updates, bringing features like third-party watch face support and more big changes in periodic updates. One that also arrived in a recent software change is support for offline step tracking, meaning you can still log activity with your device even when it’s not in communication with your smartphone.
As GigaOM notes, this is still an experimental feature, but it’s a good one for those hoping to use their Android Wear smartwatches as activity trackers, even when they go for runs or hit the gym and leave their phone at home or in the bag.
Google already paved the way for this with a feature that brings offline music playback and Bluetooth headset connectivity to Android Wear devices, and support for GPS on the watch itself via local software, so long as the watch has an actual GPS sensor, also contributes to allowing these smartwatches to be used as fitness trackers independent of phones.
I would expect to see Google continue to bolster the device-independent powers of Android Wear over time, but in a gradual release of features with experimentation first, to see what makes sense, and what strikes as more or less feature bloat. Google’s platform head start on Apple in wearables means that it has time to play with a live user base before the Apple Watch ever arrives, so expect to see many more experiments to come.