Like other Google I/O attendees, I picked up an Android Wear device at the conference. I went with the LG G Watch. What follows is not really a review so much as my experiences and thoughts about Wear thus far, having lived with it literally every day since picking it up. I'll include some of my opinions on the platform (ignoring for now the hardware), and what I think might be relevant insights and comparisons to Google's other efforts (like Glass).
Samsung's Gear Fit, the smaller, sleeker alternative to the company's other smartwatches, is probably the most interesting of the second generation Gears. If you've been coveting one, now would be the time to buy it: Amazon has it for just $99.99. That's a full 50% off the $200 retail price, and notably below alternatives like the Pebble smartwatch and the new Android Gear watches. As usual, Amazon Prime users in the United States can add free two-day shipping to the deal.
Classic Nintendo fans will recall Yoshi's Island, one of the the best platform games of its kind. They'll also recall the brain-piercing wail that Baby Mario made each and every time he fell off of Yoshi's back, which continued unabated until the player rescued him. That's basically the idea behind Wear Aware, which will create the same kind of connection between your shiny new Android Wear watch and your phone.
The app is incredibly simple, just download it from the Play Store and it will install the necessary component on your Wear device.
Fleksy claims that its Messenger keyboard is the first one to be featured on the Gear 2, and we're not going to argue. Touching on the inevitable difficulty of typing on a screen 1.6 inches across, the press release says that "Fleksy’s sleek design and unparalleled prediction engine makes it virtually effortless." If you say so.
One of the biggest barriers to smartwatch adoption is the fact that, well, they don't do a whole lot, at least compared with mobile devices of comparable price. Sony has just bolted on a little extra functionality for their smartwatch line: the ability to remotely control shutters on various Sony cameras. The new Action Camera Extension app is free, and compatible with the original Sony Smartwatch, the Smartwatch 2, and the brand new SWR10 Smartband.
There are more than a couple Gears to choose from these days, but not that long ago, there was only one. That awkward piece of tech is more affordable now, though it still hasn't dropped down to the price many people would like to pay for it. That makes now a good time to pay some attention to Best Buy. Today the retailer has refurbished versions of the original Galaxy Gear going for just $89.99, a price that's on the better side of $100.
You make a smartwatch, you make a smartwatch, and you make a smartwatch. In what feels like a reverse Oprah giveaway, every tech company in the game is apparently contemplating the idea of producing an intelligent wristwatch of their own. A new Forbes report suggests that Microsoft too is ready to throw its hat in the ring, and soon. What makes this interesting isn't the idea of a Windows Smartwatch OS.
The Sony SmartWatch 2 still goes for $199.99 new, but today you can get one around your wrist for less than half the price. Cow Boom, a Best Buy brand, has pre-owned Sony smartwatches in stock that it's willing to let go for $79.99. These may come with scratches and dents, but they're still going to work. I'll admit, that may not sound entirely compelling, but that's the risk you take whenever you buy something used.
It looks like Samsung is at it again. The company that unveiled a successor to the Galaxy Gear after only a few short months is already planning on releasing yet another smartwatch. This time the wrist-bound device should function as a standalone phone and not require something to pair to. According to the Wall Street Journal, we can expect it to drop sometime this summer.
This product, which follows behind the Galaxy Gear, Gear 2, Gear 2 Neo, and Gear Fit, will differientiate itself by shipping with a SIM card and the ability to place calls.
Yesterday Pebble-wearing Android users gained the ability to control Pandora from their wrists. This was cool stuff for Pandora listeners, but now the brainy watch is getting an update that will affect all owners, regardless of their listening preferences. A 2.1 firmware upgrade is rolling out to devices via the Android companion app.
On the user-facing side, there's one standout new feature - the watch now has a menu entry for clearing your notification history.