T-Mobile is really taking a run at this whole kinder, gentler carrier thing. Among its many initiatives is the Samsung Galaxy Avant, a modestly specced phone that you can unlock (to use on other carriers) with the newly released SIM unlock app. It might come to more phones later, but it's a step in the right direction anyway.
Maybe you've seen those wacky videos of people controlling things with voice actions on Android Wear. We've posted a few of them, and Tockle is one of the pieces that makes it possible. This app has been in beta for a few weeks now, but today is the v1.0 release. You should be able to grab the stable release from the Play Store right now.
Enough of these watch faces that are all about delivering important information and attractive "design." How about some animated GIFs? This app downloads trending animations from Giphy and syncs them to the watch to be displayed each time you wake it up. Want to see it in action? We've got a video.
Android has always made it easy to replace default apps, but managing the defaults still isn't very good. Even the recent improvements to the "complete action" dialog box are only half measures. Always or just once? Surely there's room for more nuance? That's what Better Open With gives you.
The LG G Watch and Samsung Gear Live both lack a light sensor to adjust screen brightness, which is kind of a pain. The Moto 360 is supposed to have have an ambient light sensor, but Display Brightness for Wear lets you fake the same functionality on the G Watch and Gear Live. It uses the time and your phone's location to determine how bright the watch should be, which is pretty clever.
App installation on Android Wear is completely transparent when it works correctly, but that can be an issue when things aren't going smoothly. Wear Apps Tracker makes the watch act a bit more like your phone with regard to app changes. Basically, it adds notifications.
Got an Android Wear device? If so, there's a mic on your wrist, so you might as well use it to keep track of all the insightful things that come tumbling out of your mouth. Or random craziness, whichever you're more prone to. Wear Audio Recorder lets you record voice notes from the watch, which are then pushed over to the phone.
Android Wear is designed to keep you appraised of what's going on with your phone via notifications and cards, but that's not all it's good for. There are already a few apps that let you tweak settings on your phone, and now Wear Hotspot lets you toggle the hotspot functionality. It's actually a pretty good use of Wear.
When George Mallory was asked why he wanted to climb Mount Everest, he famously replied, "Because it's there." I imagine a similar disposition possessed the developer of Wear Browser (better known for AIDE) when he shrugged his shoulders and said, "Well, I guess I'll put a browser on that watch." I say this because I can't think of a good reason anyone would do this. Still, it exists.
Android Wear is a cool platform that Google designed to have a more limited feature set. After all, it's running on a tiny screen strapped to your wrist. We need to remember, though, that it's still Android and that means people are allowed to run pretty much any insane pile of code on it. Case in point – File Manager for Android Wear. The name tells you what it is, and I'm telling you you should not spend $3.99 on a file manager for your smart watch.