Modern wrist computers have been available for three years already – just since Google presented its smartwatch operating system Android Wear three years ago. Not that many people found them so essential.
However, there are companies that are still trying to sell smart watches to you. Apple has launched its own watch twice over since 2014 and Fitbit came up with the best fitness trackers available so far.
Google has announced the launch of Android Wear 2.0 and the introduction of two new smartwatches (in partnership with LG) right in time to demonstrate its commitment to wearables.
Avery Hartmans from Business Insider has tested Android Wear 2.0 on one of Google’s new smartwatches, the LG Watch Style, and shares her impressions.
Hartmans notes the Play Store on a smartwatch is probably the most exciting novelty. Due to cellular connection, you can use apps on the watch and even make calls, no matter if your phone is in your pocket or at home. Google eliminated the necessity for a middleman – the phone – allowing to directly download apps onto the watch.
The on-watch apps are pared down and provide only the functionality you need to avoid squinting at the screen and trying to navigate through a complex app on a tiny screen.
Google has added a full keyboard so that there are three options for responding to messages or using apps now: typing things out on a standard keyboard, voice search and input, and drawing emoji.
“The experience isn’t perfect yet, but mostly because third-party apps haven’t caught up. Some Android Wear apps still require a phone to either set things up or do more minute computing, like typing out a shopping list. But apps’ capabilities should only improve over time”, Hartmans says.
Improved fitness tracking
Android Wear 2.0 on the LG Watch Style doesn’t have so many fitness-focused features. However, it counts steps and allows you to set goals for yourself, like running twice a week. It is capable of counting the number of reps for various activities so that it can act as some kind of a fitness coach. Using the on-watch Fit Workout app, you can track activities like stationary biking or aerobics, as well as try three types of 30-day challenges: push-ups, sit-ups, and squats.
The watch can serve as a guide to ensure you are making the moves safely and correctly. It tracks your progress each day and makes it a little bit tougher each time you complete the challenge.
Hartmans shares that that watch tracked both sit-ups and push-ups she completed with perfect accuracy.
A simplified user experience overall
Google allows you to choose how simple or customized your watch will be. It offers personalized watch faces so that you could either add bubbles that show upcoming agenda items, or fitness goals and app shortcuts, for instance.
“Choosing the right watch face was one of the more challenging parts of using the device, as there’s only so much information you want displayed on the face of your watch”, Hartmans shares.
Android Wear 2.0 has become the best user experience with a smartwatch for Hartmans. It is worth testing to know whether it will be the same for you!