We all know that Apple is making watches now, but Android wear has been in the market for 2 years already. How have they been performing, and what is the Android wear strategy moving forward – AAW (After Apple Watch)?
Among the many different Android wear watches available, Samsung, Moto 360, ASUS, and LG, are the most popular. I have only researched them, not worn them, but looking at them online, in person, and on paper, the LG watches seem to be the ones I would purchase. That is not to say the other ones do not have their positives and do great things. I love competition.
And look at the bands they have – so many colors and textures.
The new LG Urbane is a pretty cool looking watch. I mean, it looks like a watch, but does so much more.
AN UPDATE WILL MAKE FOR BETTER APPS
A few weeks ago, Google announced Android Wear 5.1.1, and while the version number doesn’t suggest major improvements, the update will make third-party apps much more useful.
One notable change extends Android Wear’s always-on display capabilities to third-party apps, so they can leave information on the screen in a low-power, black-and-white mode. Prior to the update, Android Wear would always revert to the clock screen after a few seconds of inactivity, regardless of what you were doing.
“With the new always-on feature, we can bring this hands-free experience to the next level,” says Benedikt Lehnert, chief design officer for the task management app Wunderlist. “Simply select your grocery list and have it visible the entire time you’re shopping. No need to constantly touch the screen or move your wrist, so you can focus on juggling all the goodies you want to buy.”
Google will also make it easier to open smartwatch apps in the first place with a launcher that users can open by tapping on the main screen. When Android Wear first launched, Google seemed to deliberately hide the launcher, preferring that app makers focus on actionable notifications. But developers say Google may have gotten ahead of itself with that plan.
“My guess is they went a bit too fast going notification-only, and they found users are confused by the lack of structure,” says Q42 developer Taco Ekkel, who created an app for controlling Philips Hue lightbulbs. “The notification-instead-of-apps model is the future, but people (both users and many app developers) need time to get there.”
In the meantime, the launcher will give users easier access to functions that might not come up through notifications alone. Aaron Sarazan, who leads Android development for the personal finance app Level Money, says notifications are great for showing a record of recent transactions, but not so much for letting users look up how much they can spend. “Just by virtue of removing the number of taps to get to the app list, that helps a lot,” he says.
The feature was born out of a company hackathon, and is also included in the Android Handwriting Input app Google introduced last week. The Android Wear team decided to turn the one-off idea into a feature, but needed help in making it work for potentially millions of people. It ended up turning to other Googlers who were used as guinea pigs to figure out a kind of common handwriting language for things like thumbs up signs, hamburgers, and yes — even poop.
Probably the most fun part of the update is the new support for drawing emoji characters. Instead of replying with a canned response or awkwardly speaking into your wrist, you can draw an emoji character and Android Wear will do its best to recognize it and convert it to an actual emoji. In practice, it ends up being entertaining, both when it gets it right, and when it fails horribly.
VOICE COMMANDS ARE ABOUT TO GET SMARTER
Even as Google backtracks on some of its original ideas for Android Wear, it’s also taking a step forward by opening up more voice commands to third-party apps.
Top things you can do with your watch.
THE STAGE IS SET FOR IOS SUPPORT
Despite these improvements, Android Wear is still held back by the fact that it only works with Android phones. With the average Android phone costing less than $300, and smartwatch prices starting at $200, chances are that many Android users aren’t going to bother with a smartwatch anytime soon. Meanwhile, studies have shown that iPhone users tend to be younger and more affluent, suggesting that they have more money to spend on smartwatches. Google likely realizes that it can’t ignore this group, which is why we’ve seen so many rumors of Android Wear support coming to iOS.
At the end of the day, you are either an Apple person or you are a Android dude. Both watches have pros and cons, but Android wear has many options among several manufacturers. Im sure this is only the beginning of wearables.
Here’s a biased Android Wear vs Apple Watch comparison – Enjoy!