The Android Wear experience: Google's smartwatches

By Krishan Sharma

As long as you’re comfortable with giving Google all the relevant information, Google Now’s information cards and their ability to display useful information before you even request it are a natural fit for a smartwatch as opposed to a smartphone, where such information tends to be ignored.

Pebble and Samsung’s Galaxy Gear line may have laid down the foundation but Google’s smartwatch platform promises the smarts of Google Now to deliver useful information to our wrists — all without our involvement, using a voice-driven interface and an active Android-based app development community.

Rotating your wrist will ‘wake’ the screen from its time keeping duties and display missed calls, text messages, emails, relevant sports scores, steps taken (using the built-in pedometer), weather, next available bus or train information if you regularly catch public transport, the travel time to home or work if you drive, your next meeting or appointment according to your calendar, and parcel delivery tracking information.

The G Watch and Gear Live are bland designs to say the least and for Android Wear to hit mass-market appeal it needs fashion conscious hardware.

If you don’t want to clutter up your smartwatch with every minor notification, you can elect to disable notifications from specific apps using the companion Android Wear app on your smartphone.

Out of the gate, Android Wear is launching with two smartwatches, the G Watch from LG and Samsung Gear Live, both of which retail for $250.

Instead, the emphasis lies in the time-honoured tradition of glancing at our wrists — and Google reckons its Android Wear line has the design and software chops to make a splash in the smartwatch market.

The ability to quickly fire off short text messages or emails from your watch is useful but the inability to reply to notifications is a frustrating omission and suggests that Google pushed this release out the door a bit quicker than they may have liked.

The G Watch is particularly nondescript, with no trace of design flair whatsoever, while the Gear Live closely resembles the company’s previous offerings — namely the Galaxy Gear 2 — with chrome edges that adorn the rectangular watch face along with a metal clamp.

We prefer the traditional buckle strap design of the G Watch than the frustrating clamp mechanism of the Gear Live, which requires squeezing a pair of metal prongs into two finicky holes, resulting in a looser fit than we would like.

The software experiences of both G Watch and Gear Live are identical thanks to Google’s vision of ensuring a consistent user experience across all its smartwatches.

In addition, any notifications from apps on your phone will also display on an information card — so your eBay bidding status or social media notifications will all appear on the smartwatch.

Read more here: Business Spectator


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