The most fitness oriented of Android Wear devices so far is now listed in the Play Store. None other than the Sony SmartWatch 3, from the company that previously said it was sticking with its non-Android watch platform. Yeah, that went well.
Android Wear is naturally more limited than regular builds of Android, but some of the omissions just don't make sense. No battery monitor, Google? Really? Well, there's finally an app that fills in some of the gaps, and it's called Wear Battery Monitor. That's a descriptive, if predictable name.
The app can be opened on the watch to get a battery percent graph over time with a maximum of 24 hours of data.
We're in a bit of a lull for Android Wear devices. All three launch watches have been released and the second wave is still on the way. You may be wondering, have the app developers slowed down? Hell no, and how dare you ask such a leading question in your head just how? It's okay, though. We forgive you. As penance, read the following zillion words about all the new apps for Android Wear from the last few weeks.
As we've noted before, Facer is pretty cool: it's a way to make or load custom watch faces and easily apply them to your Android Wear device. While the Facer app has its own built-in gallery of submitted watch faces, FaceRepo is an impressively varied alternative that allows you to browse watch faces on the web. User-submitted designs are split into round and square watch faces for the Moto 360 and G Watch/Gear Live, respectively.
Fun fact: Microsoft was working on "smart watches" a solid decade before the current craze. Microsoft partnered with Fossil and a few other watch makers to release SPOT Watches, which received information updates via FM radio broadcasts. I don't want to say that SPOT watches were terrible, and I don't have to, because this Cnet review does it for me. Maybe Microsoft is trying to capture the not-so-glorious days of early 2000s smartwatches, because the company's research division has just posted an experimental keyboard for Android Wear.
As evidence mounts that the official release of Android L may be days away, Google began rolling out yet another update to Play services, just one week after the previous update. As it turns out, there's a bit more than just a new icon, a few UI tweaks, and the usual bug fixes. This version brings some finishing touches to a couple of features, no doubt getting them ready to launch alongside the next version of Android.
Motorola has pushed an update to its camera app in the Play Store with a few performance improvements and remote shutter for Android Wear, just like the official Google camera. The new version also includes KitKat compatibility, according to the changelog. Strange considering KitKat has been out for a year, but okay.
Here's the full changelog just so we're clear.
- Remote shutter control for Android Wear watches
- Performance improvements and bug fixes
- Updated application will be compatible with Android KitKat
Motorola has taken a lot of heat for mediocre camera performance, but at least it can offer camera updates in the Play Store.
In case you missed it, the official help forum for Android Wear has gone live. There are many places to go online to get help with using your new smartwatch, but this Google Group is the place the company would probably prefer you go. It's also a location where you have a reasonable chance of getting an answer. We try to answer many of the questions that you pitch to us in the comments, but we don't see everything.
Late yesterday, Google began rolling out an update to the Android Wear companion app. Despite a sudden growth of over 2 MB in size, the app only seemed to change the text of a warning, and there were no visible changes on our watches. We knew there had to be something great hidden under the covers, and we were right. The companion app certainly has some interesting changes of its own, but it also acts as the delivery mechanism for a Wear-customized version of Google Play services, and there's a bit to talk about in there, too.
With a big OTA expected to hit Android Wear devices starting around October 15th, Google has just published what might be a preparatory update for the Android Wear companion app. Taking the app up to version 1.0.2, the update adds about 3MB to the APK's file size. Google hasn't published a change log quite yet, but we can already tell from a cursory teardown that the new version brings with it an update to Google Play Services for Wearables (a package sent to the watch from the app) - version 6.1.11 (up from 5.0.91).