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Google Android Wear takes the fight to Samsung Gear S with new Bluetooth features and GPS tracking

Google will release “several” Android Wear updates before the year is out as part of a strategy that wants to allow smartwatch owners to leave smartphones at home by pairing the wristbands with other wearables.

Related: Samsung Gear S champions its fitness capabilities with Nike+ Running app

In an interview with CNET, David Singleton, director of engineering for Android Wear, stated that the first update will arrive this week and among the features on the way is the ability to pair a smartwatch with a Bluetooth headset.

“So we'll have an update coming that allows you to pair a Bluetooth headset with your watch. And that means you can play music stored on your watch directly on your Bluetooth headset,” Singleton explained.

As well as the new Bluetooth feature, it is also bringing GPS support to the platform that allows devices with GPS to be able to use geolocation data to track fitness sessions. Both that and the Bluetooth headset pairing will be particularly attractive to anyone out running that doesn’t want to take a smartphone out with them during a workout.

Not needing a smartphone when using a smartwatch is something that Samsung made a big play of with the unveiling last week of it’s Samsung Gear S smartwatch that runs on the rival Tizen OS.

Third-party developers will also soon be able to design watch faces that can then be downloaded from the Play Store. This will allow customised watch faces that display scores from sports teams to company stock prices to be easily swapped out as and when needed.

Singleton went on to explain that thousands of apps in the Play Store already have Android Wear support and that he expects that number to mushroom further as time goes on.

Related: Samsung unveils new Gear S smartwatch you can make call from: Prepare for war, Apple, Sony and LG

All eyes are currently on IFA 2014 when a number of companies will be unveiling wearables and if Apple teases anything next Tuesday it could send the sector into overdrive.

Jamie is a freelance writer with over eight years experience writing for online audiences about technology and other topics. In his time writing for ITProPortal he wrote daily news stories covering the IT industry and the worldwide technology market, as well as features that covered every part of the IT market, from the latest start ups to multinational companies and everything encompassed by the IT sector. He has also written tech content for our sister publication, TechRadar Pro. Jamie has since moved into sports betting content and is Content Manager at Betbull.