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Listen to music and track runs on Android Wear, no phone needed

With new Android Wear updates, you no longer need your phone to listen to music or use GPS on your smartwatch. But some restrictions apply.

The Sony SmartWatch 3. CNET

If you have an Android Wear watch, you can now ditch your phone when you want to listen to some tunes on your next bike ride or run. That's because a new update to Android Wear lets you play music without having your phone tethered nearby. And if you have the right watch, you can also track your movement with GPS.

There are few catches however. You can only use the updated Google Play Music app to get music onto your watch, so you can't stream music from Pandora or Spotify . Once the tracks are on your watch, you can connect Bluetooth headphones to listen while you move. The LG G Watch , Samsung Gear Live and Moto 360 will all get an update in the next few days that lets you play music without your phone.

Apps like Runkeeper and Strava use GPS to track your movement, giving you stats on how far and fast you ran or biked. Normally, you'd need your phone to track GPS with those and other activity apps, but the new Sony SmartWatch 3 has a built-in GPS sensor that works without your phone. Unfortunately, the other Android Wear watches don't have this sensor, so they can't keep tabs on your movement by themselves.

The Sony SmartWatch 3 is available from Verizon for preorder starting today. Google says the watch is also coming to the Play Store soon.