So you've just picked up an Android Wear device, but what the heck can you do with this tiny wrist computer? Sure, it pulls in notification from your phone and shows you Google Now cards, but you need some apps too. It can be a challenge to navigate the Play Store in search of the best watch apps, but we've been keeping a close eye on things. Here are the five apps every Android Wear device needs to have installed.
Wear Mini Launcher
I simply cannot imagine using Android Wear without Wear Mini Launcher.
Free stuff is good, and if you're an Android developer looking to get into the Intel dev scene, then there's a free book on Amazon that should be just what you need. It's called "Android Application Development for the Intel Platform" (man I really love catchy book titles), and it's normally $40. The paperback version is still going for $35, but if you can handle reading on your device, the Kindle Edition costs approximately zero monies right now.
This weekend's poll is going to be a bit different, in that it's sort of a two-parter. Starting on Wednesday, a slew of press conferences and announcements by various Android OEMs will be taking place at the IFA electronics trade show in Berlin - we'll be there to cover it, too! What we want to know is just what announcement you're really on the lookout for.
I've included a list of products we have a good feeling will be at the show (or straight-up confirmation), but feel free to head down to the comments and voice your answer if it's not featured in the poll.
To tell the truth, the first round of Android Wear devices aren't all that expensive if you think of them as luxury watches. But if you think of them as notification-based accessories for your $500 smartphone, yeah, they're pretty pricey. Big box retailer Best Buy is here to alleviate some of that sticker shock with a sale on the LG G Watch. You can pick up the black or white/gold version for $179.99 right now, $50 off the retail price.
Emoji are a staple in conversations for many, many people. They offer a colorful, language-agnostic way to convey thoughts and intent that can’t always come across in a wall of text. Instant messaging is the most common home to these little pictograms, but it's not unheard of for them to appear elsewhere, particularly within contact names. Unfortunately, when Emoji are used to decorate contacts in Gmail, it can interfere with the syncing service and prevent those contacts from crossing between devices.
Remember when developer Beamdog re-released the fan-favorite Dungeons and Dragons PC game Baldur's Gate on Android? Series devotees are getting another go-round the dungeon, because the sequel campaign Icewind Dale is getting the same Enhanced Edition re-release treatment. Rights-holder Wizards of the Coast announced the upcoming game for Android phones and tablets, as well as iOS, PC, and Mac, at the Penny Arcade Expo this weekend.
The decision to release another Enhanced Edition for Android is a bit unexpected.
If you've got a spare buck sitting around, now might be the time to blow it on a game. Disney's Castle of Illusion usually costs $9.99, but it's currently on sale for just $0.99, which is a full 90% off. Note, this deal isn't valid in all regions, but this game has proven pretty popular even at full price.
WhatsApp was surprisingly quick off the draw after the release of Android Wear, updating its sideloaded beta app with Wear support early this month. Now the 2.11.362 update is available on the general play store release, so even users who don't want to use the beta (or who don't know about it) can get richer WhatsApp chat notifications on their wrists. Huzzah!
The update to the main app includes most of the standard Wear messaging stuff: full long message viewing, nested/stacked messages with sliding navigation between them, and the usual reply via voice option.
Let's be honest, busy people don't have time to trudge through long books made of mostly filler. Unfortunately, publishers know they can't put a high price on a 40-page book. In the end, authors are stuck building a lavish sea of meaningless words around the simple concepts they want to convey. That's where Blinkist comes in. It's a service that boils popular non-fiction books down to their most formative and salient points.