We didn't cover Samsung's Gear S all that much. While the smartwatch may seem like just another Android-powered wrist-bound gadget from a manufacturer that has produced many, this one was different. It actually ran Tizen.
Well, Samsung has another one in the works. The company teased the hardware in this 30-second video.
Are you cool enough to strap two wearables to your arms at once? The makers of the Misfit Shine fitness tracker think that you are. The company's new app for the Pebble family of smartwatches allows both devices to stay in sync, but it needs a smartphone in the middle (Android or iPhone) and apps for both the Misfit and the Pebble on the phone, too.
In its previous update, Pocket Casts added an Android Wear companion app that allowed you to browse your Up Next list of podcasts and pick an episode to play. It worked even when Pocket Casts wasn't launched on your phone and without requiring the notification first, which was awesome if you needed to start playback from your watch without having to dig your phone out of your pocket/purse. The whole idea though relied on you having already populated your playback queue because you couldn't browse your entire library from the watch. That's changing with this new update.
In version 5.1.3, Pocket Casts revamped its notification actions, adding a few screens that you can swipe to when an episode is playing.
And now, we interrupt our Google I/O coverage to bring you this health bulletin.
Runtastic is one of the few apps that are commendable for quickly - really quickly - adapting to any new Android releases, options, or APIs. Today, the app is keeping its track record of jumping head-first into new features by adding an always-on mode for Android Wear watches.
You don't need to do anything for the function to work - that is if your Wear watch is already on Android 5.1.1, which enables always-on mode for apps. When you start a new Runtastic activity, the card will show up on your watch. Tap it to expand for the full details, and if you don't touch your watch for a few seconds, the app goes into always-on mode, inverting its colors for less power consumption but still presenting all the details that you've picked.
Here's the problem with Android Wear. Although my G Watch R is always with me, notifying me and taking my commands, controlling it with anything but voice seems a tad cumbersome. You can realistically hold and interact with a phone using one hand, but you can't with a watch. You need both hands, which, if you ask me, feels like a step backwards sometimes. If my right hand is in my pocket, or holding something, steering, mixing a batch of cake filling, typing, grocery shopping, brushing my teeth, climbing a mountain, squeezing a lemon, or otherwise occupied, I have to interrupt whatever it is doing and bring it together with my left wrist to take care of a new notification on my watch.
If you've been looking to score a high-end Android Wear device on the cheap, head over to Woot's landing page. The main daily deal for today (Thursday) is the Moto 360, refurbished and sporting either black or gray leather strap, for just $129.99. That's a full $120 off of the original retail price, and $35 off of the price that was dropped last month. It's the cheapest round Wear watch available at the moment, and well below the average price for any smartwatch.
Smartwatches are easily the hottest new form factor in tech in the last year or so, and considering we're already on generation two (OK, maybe more like 1.5) of Android Wear hardware, you'd think smartwatches were pretty much a sure thing. Everybody's going to wear one, there's going to be a gigantic 3rd party app ecosystem, and it's going to be just like the smartphone boom years! Smartwatches will be indispensible to our daily lives.
Except, well, there are lots of good reasons to not believe that. Smartwatches have so far presented a pretty lame value proposition - doing little more than the smartphones they're connected to, while costing nearly as much (or a lot more).
Does the lack of $1000+ status symbols available for the Android Wear market really get you down? If it does, then start saving your pennies now. According to Bloomberg, TAG Heuer and its owner LVMH intend to release a luxury smartwatch in either October or November of this year, with a price tag expected to be around $1400. That's much, much more expensive than even the priciest Android Wear devices to date, about entry-level for a TAG watch, and approximately one tenth the price of the most expensive Apple Watch.
The nice thing about a United States design patent, as opposed to a more common utility patent, is that it doesn't actually have to work. Hell, it doesn't even have to make sense - it just has to be a mostly-new idea that's concrete enough to put into a technical doodle. So it is with Design Patent D726,140, awarded to LG by the US Patent and Trademark Office last week. If you could turn one of those slap-bracelets from the 90s into a phone-watch hybrid, it would look a lot like this.
"FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a mobile phone showing our new design in which the display part has been bent and wound around the band"
The design patent covers a fairly standard (if impossibly thin) slate smartphone that curves backwards on the top and bottom.
Apple has a big event scheduled to kick off whenever the hour, with folks looking forward to learning more about upcoming MacBooks and the Apple Watch. The latter will be a first-generation device, Apple's long-awaited debut into the wearables market.
But forget about that product for a moment and remember that, whatever the headlines, Apple's watch will hardly be the only decent smartwatch in town. Google has just released a short commercial showing consumers that Android Wear is a thing and that its watches are cool.
The 17-second commercial features plenty of young people wearing various circular and square watches all sporting different faces.