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No Wi-Fi for Asus ZenWatch, ‘maintenance’ update headed to LG G Watch R soon

The list of Google-powered smartwatches with standalone Wi-Fi connectivity on the way grows by one, but alas, Asus has different plans for its uber-affordable ZenWatch.

LG G Watch R

How’s the Android Wear 5.1.1 bundle of joy treating you, Moto 360, Sony SmartWatch 3 and Samsung Gear Live owners? Haven’t received it yet over-the-air? Don’t worry, it’s probably coming in a matter of days. Weeks, tops.

Meanwhile, the luxury LG Watch Urbane ships to upscale customers with the newest software iteration pre-installed, and the OG G Watch, plus the G Watch R and Asus ZenWatch are all invited to the 5.1.1W party, but essentially asked to leave after midnight.

The three have plenty to gain from the UI overhaul, despite missing out on arguably the biggest system enhancement. Specifically, Wi-Fi capabilities letting them sync up to a compatible smartphone even when not in Bluetooth range of each other.

Still, surprise, surprise, the G Watch R will reportedly be able to score full 5.1.1 functionality… eventually. Apparently, LG confirmed in a talk with a Dutch news publication that its engineers are currently cooking up a patch “for availability in the third quarter.”

Asus ZenWatch

Why isn’t this “maintenance update” baked into the initial Android Wear 5.1.1 package? Reading between the lines of the device manufacturer’s statement makes us think they weren’t really expecting Google to natively enable wrist Wi-Fi so soon. As such, the original, rectangular G Watch “was not designed with Wi-Fi in mind”, and its circular follow-up got a Wi-Fi antenna just in case it would be needed down the line.

The Asus ZenWatch? According to a similarly candid but bleaker press announcement, the stylish timepiece was “optimized for Bluetooth connectivity so will not be receiving Wi-Fi capabilities in the Android Wear 5.1 update.” Nor does its “hardware support Wi-Fi connectivity” for subsequent proprietary activation.

Such a shame when the ZenWatch is so competitively priced, at $199, i.e. 5 bucks north of Gear Live’s current Amazon valuation, on-par with the Moto 360 and $75 south of G Watch R’s cost.

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