Google let the cat out of the bag yesterday with a blog post detailing just what we should expect in the next major version to Android Wear. An upcoming software update will be adding Wi-Fi support, always-on apps, and a few other interesting options. While we wait for new firmwares to hit our wrist-bound hardware, the Android Wear app just received its own update to prepare for the new features. This isn't just a small maintenance release to add configuration screens, there are some major visual and organizational improvements, and a few new features.
You knew it was coming. With the Moto 360 being easily the most exciting Android Wear device from the initial video almost exactly a year ago, and then being something of a disappointment upon release thanks to its ancient chipset and not-really-360-degree "round" screen, a follow-up was inevitable. It looks like an executive from Lenovo (the new owners of Motorola Mobility) may have let the cat out of the bag on the company's next Android Wear smartwatch.
We're all looking forward to Google I/O. Some of us frequently check the official website to count the days until registrations are open, so we are familiar with the cool font and animations used for the event's hashtag and countdown. They're all about Material Design — layers, colors, shadows, FABs, and all the design elements that have populated our conscious and subconscious dreams for the past months.
Now you can count the time until I/O more accurately and with the same style, thanks to this IO 2015 Watch Face.
Ever wanted the Moto 360's charging screen on another Android Wear watch? Ever wished you could see more information on that charging screen? If you answered yes to at least one of these two questions, then you might be interested in Wear Charging Widget.
The application automatically triggers when your Android Wear watch is charging. With a Moto 360-inspired design, it has an evolving circle that shows the current amount of charge on the watch, along with the time, date, and weather.
LG has just sent out a press release for its latest Android Wear device - the LG Watch Urbane.
The Watch Urbane, "first all-metal luxury Android Wear device," ostensibly drops both the "G" naming scheme and the bezel markings of the G Watch R, opting for understated metal casings. Otherwise the specs should look pretty familiar.
Chipset: 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon™ 400
Operating System: Android Wear™
Display: 1.3-inch P-OLED Display (320 x 320, 245ppi)
Google's official device art generator is a great tool for making screenshots look pretty. For all recent Nexus devices, including Nexus 5, 6, 7, and 9 (plus a few older devices), the generator has high-quality device frames that will perfectly show off properly sized screenshots. Users can simply drag a screenshot in and then drag the framed shot back out, with shadow or glare effects if desired.
Now, it looks like Android Wear has joined the lineup on the device art generator. Rather than opting for specific device art (which in this case would include a watch body and a strap), Google has added very basic frames for "round" or "square" watches (no flat tire shapes allowed).
This year's Consumer Electronics Show will kick off next week, and many tech companies are ready to show off their gadgets. Alcatel OneTouch plans to attract attention on the show floor with its line of affordable phones and watches. But this time the price isn't the biggest draw.
The Alcatel OneTouch PIXI 3 series of handsets offer screens ranging from 3.5 to 5 inches. The smallest will only support 3G, while the 4", 4.5", and 5" options should handle 4G LTE as well. All will apparently be able to run Android, Firefox OS, or Windows. Alcatel describes the devices as OS agnostic but doesn't specify if the same hardware will run each platform or if there will be different models to choose from. The company also didn't include photos with the press release, so we'll have to wait until next week to get more information on the phones.
There are very specific applications and implementations that make sense on Google's smartwatch platform. Minecraft isn't one of them. Even so, the first batch of Android Wear devices have at least as much processing power and memory as some of the older or cheaper smartphones, so it was only a matter of time before someone tried something like this. That someone is YouTube user and Galaxy Gear owner Corbin Davenport.
Corbin says that he didn't do anything special to get Minecraft: Pocket Edition running on his Gear Live, just manually installed it (I'm assuming he used the standard ADB commands). Since the Gear Live uses a Snapdragon 400 processor running at 1.2Ghz, with half a gigabyte of RAM and 4GB of storage, it's got more than enough oomph to play the ubiquitous building game, though I'm betting that it's only working in local mode.
This is a story you've heard before - Samsung has announced another smartwatch. Not content with its current bevy of smartwatch offerings, the South Korean manufacturer has introduced the Gear S, a new Tizen-powered watch with a curved display that Samsung says "enhances the smart wearable experience."
The watch has a 2.0" SAMOLED display at a 360x480 resolution, a 300mAh battery, a dual-core processor, and a handful of sensors including an accelerometer, gyroscope, compass, heart rate monitor, barometer, and sensors for ambient light and UV. Like some of Samsung's other watches, users can also make and receive calls from the device.
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). If you've not had your fill of editorial Wear discussion yet, let's get started.
My First Smart Watch
I'll confess - I've never owned a smart watch before the G Watch.