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.
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.
The Play Store has a ton of apps and games, often at very reasonable prices. Still, we live in a world where apps are priced very low, sometimes to the point that people scoff at paying even $0.99 for something. Developers can't just give it away, but they can occasionally drop the price to entice those of you on the fence. So stop with the indecisiveness, and buy some stuff that's on sale.
Auto insurance is a thing, and OBD-II diagnostic plugs are also a thing. Metromile brings these two things together in a marvelous fusion of data and pragmatism. With the new Android app, you can get diagnostic data out of your car and take advantage of Metromile's insurance rates based on how much you drive.
Any miniscule tap will wake up an Android Wear watch and make it start doing stuff, and there's no lock screen option built-in. Baby Time was one of the first Wear apps that sought to solve this, but Shower Wear is on another level. It's like the standard Android lock screen, but it's on your watch.
We've been testing Shower Wear recently to see how it works in practice (we listed it in the last Roundup too).
Android Wear does a lot of things well, but operating with multiple devices is not one of them. If you've ever wanted to pair with a new phone or tablet, you've probably found the process pretty agonizing. Wear usually requires a reset of the watch before it will see a new device, but Android Wear BeeLink does it in a single step from your wrist.
The world is rife with cloud storage providers who would be happy to hold on to your data so you can share it with others, but you have to give up a little control to keep your files on a server you don't own. BitTorrent's Sync service offers an alternative "cloud-free" solution, and the Android app has just been bumped to v1.4 with a number of new features.
Your Chromecast can now be a source of dry wit and occasionally entertaining TV shows with the newly added Chromecast support for NPR One and Watch ABC. The NPR app should work on just about every device under the sun, but the ABC app is oddly picky.