At this year's Google I/O, the company behind the search engine with the most o's promised attendees not one, but two Android Wear devices. The first was either an LG G Watch or a Samsung Gear Live. The second, a Moto 360. We haven't heard much about the latter since then, but emails are now going out. The time has come for I/O goers to check their inboxes.
We've been wondering when conventional watchmakers would jump into the smartwatch game. Timex, a company that's no stranger to advanced wrist-mounted functionality, appears to be the first. They've adapted some of the technology first seen in the Qualcomm Toq developer device into the IronMan One GPS+. This watch combines the features of GPS watches that have been popular with runners and bikers for years with typical "smartwatch" functions like email alerts and an MP3 player.
Long before Android Wear first appeared and made the Pebble's black and white display look relatively antiquated, the latter's physical design already left plenty of room for improvement. The newer $250 Pebble Steel spiced things up quite a bit, but until now, the original $150 plastic model has remained untouched. Well today the company has announced three limited edition colors to breathe fresh, new life into its intelligent wristwatch.
These three new shades - Fly Blue, Fresh Green, and Hot Pink - stand in sharp contrast to the pre-existing black, gray, orange, red, and white options.
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.