Before going on vacation I decided to dive into android wear programming and ordered a smartwatch, a moto 360. I decided to take it and use it on the trip and see if it can assist me or make life easier in some ways. If you are just asking yourself if you definitely need one, I can tell you. No.
As I mentioned I want to dive into android wearable development. So the first task would be to get a feeling, how it works and what I can do with this. So the setup and configuration are straightforward:
- Install Android wear app on Android (My Nexus already had detected the watch, because I head Bluetooth turned on)
- Pair the watch to the phone
Of course, after the thousands of updates, the battery was very low. This will not be the usual battery lifetime. To support the battery lifetime I first switched off the so-called ‘Always on’ display, so I could get the most out of the battery. I don’t bother if someone else than me can take a look at the time walking beside me, so why should I waste the battery? 😉 And if you raise your arm in the natural position of looking at a normal watch the display turns on. That really works well.
Also, the leather wristband feels comfortable and the watch is not too heavy. And more important, not too thick.
The first thing you will recognize are the general notifications like they appear on your smartphone. Some apps already have built-in smartwatch functionality. Some apps can even replace existing functionality like Trello can replace the ‘Take Note’ functionality. So what else is possible?
I always carry a little pedometer with me, which is very accurate, and try to reach at least 10.000 steps each day. As smartwatch are praised for their fitness … I don’t know compatibility? … I thought I’d check this out next. Walking on the street and running at the gym. To my surprise, it worked great. Just to let you know, I tested Google Fit and Moto Body. Both were quite accurate.
At the office, it becomes quite handy for appointments. I know your smartphone also reminds you, but again, you do not have to pull it out.
Also for the tech part, I discovered great features. I use two-factor authentication where I can. But sometimes it’s quit annoying to pull out the phone all the time to check the code. With a smartwatch on your wrist, you can check the latest authentication code just on your wrist, which is quite handy when you have to type it in. You don’t have to unlock your phone all the time.
But ain’t that a security hole? Yes and no. If you don’t lock the watch when you take it off, it is. But if you enable the automatic lock function when you take it off you have to draw a pattern before you can use it.
Next thing I recognized is, my phone battery lasts longer when I wear the watch. Wait, how can that be? It uses the Bluetooth connection all the time. Simple. When I wear the watch and get a notification I just take a look at the watch, and do not pull out the phone, unlock it, drag down the notification bar, read the notification, lock it and pull it back in.
Another cool thing is controlling music. Or in my case, audio books. When I am at the gym, driving, or doing other mindless tasks I like to listen to audiobooks. Same thing as above, I do not have to pull out the phone all the time when I want to control audible. The same works for every music program such as prime music or similar.
I bet you know this situation. You are at home, work, hotel or elsewhere and don’t know where you left your phone… In the fridge (yes, it happened), in some drawers, bag, jacket. And there’s another handy feature of the watch, the ‘find your phone’ menu point. You click it and in about 5 seconds your phone starts ringing at full volume, whether it is in ‘Do not disturb’ or on vibration.
As I mentioned we traveled to Stockholm for a few days. A nice city, but I have never been there before, so I don’t know anything there.
So the first thing that came in quite handy was the connection to google maps or the navigation. I could either tell the watch “Take me to Hotel XYZ” or type it one my phone. And the cool thing is, that you can just look at the watch where you have to go. It vibrates if you need to change direction. This was a very nice feature.
Also, if you want to what the weather will be like, you can, for example, use weather.com’s app and you got the weather on your wrist.
Another cool feature is the flashlight. Don’t expect too much, but it’s powerful enough to light up a sign on a darker bus station in the night.
Still in progress
As this is a post based on an ongoing experience, I will update this post occasionally. Stay tuned and subscribe to the newsletter!