So you've just picked up an Android Wear device, but what the heck can you do with this tiny wrist computer? Sure, it pulls in notification from your phone and shows you Google Now cards, but you need some apps too. It can be a challenge to navigate the Play Store in search of the best watch apps, but we've been keeping a close eye on things. Here are the five apps every Android Wear device needs to have installed.
Wear Mini Launcher
I simply cannot imagine using Android Wear without Wear Mini Launcher.
Remember when developer Beamdog re-released the fan-favorite Dungeons and Dragons PC game Baldur's Gate on Android? Series devotees are getting another go-round the dungeon, because the sequel campaign Icewind Dale is getting the same Enhanced Edition re-release treatment. Rights-holder Wizards of the Coast announced the upcoming game for Android phones and tablets, as well as iOS, PC, and Mac, at the Penny Arcade Expo this weekend.
The decision to release another Enhanced Edition for Android is a bit unexpected.
If you've got a spare buck sitting around, now might be the time to blow it on a game. Disney's Castle of Illusion usually costs $9.99, but it's currently on sale for just $0.99, which is a full 90% off. Note, this deal isn't valid in all regions, but this game has proven pretty popular even at full price.
WhatsApp was surprisingly quick off the draw after the release of Android Wear, updating its sideloaded beta app with Wear support early this month. Now the 2.11.362 update is available on the general play store release, so even users who don't want to use the beta (or who don't know about it) can get richer WhatsApp chat notifications on their wrists. Huzzah!
The update to the main app includes most of the standard Wear messaging stuff: full long message viewing, nested/stacked messages with sliding navigation between them, and the usual reply via voice option.
Let's be honest, busy people don't have time to trudge through long books made of mostly filler. Unfortunately, publishers know they can't put a high price on a 40-page book. In the end, authors are stuck building a lavish sea of meaningless words around the simple concepts they want to convey. That's where Blinkist comes in. It's a service that boils popular non-fiction books down to their most formative and salient points.
After 20 minutes of playing Bio Inc., I feel like a horrible, horrible person. Poor John Smith was already overweight, a chronic fast food eater, and a compulsive smoker, and I went out of my way to target his respiratory system. I gave him lung cancer. I gave him bronchitis. And when his doctors realized something was wrong, I went after his ticker and gave him angina, then a full-on heart attack.
If you were wondering just what was in inside a Maps update appearing on your devices starting yesterday, wonder no more: the changelog is here. The changelog, though, is not only short, it is not of particularly great interest unless you're a Hindi speaker. Here it is:
Hindi now supported, including voice navigation
Improved navigation notifications on Android Wear devices
Let's think about filters for a moment. They are immensely useful, allowing users to direct (junk) mail from particular senders to the appropriate location (the trash) or apply the correct label (stuff to ignore). Gmail has had the ability to create and manage filters for years, but its app hasn't. In fact, it still lacks this functionality. Yahoo, on the other hand, has rolled the feature into the latest release of its Android app, version 2.6.
The Samsung Gear Live launched with a built-in heart rate monitor, but unfortunately, it could only take measurements one at a time. There was no way to monitor a wearer's heart rate continuously, such as during a workout. Now developer Portable Pixels has hit Google Play with an Android app that makes this functionality possible, one that goes by the rather straightforward name of "Heart Rate Training."
The developer's previous creations skew more towards the amusing side, but that doesn't limit the capability of this app.
The Penny Arcade Expo, better known as PAX, has been doing its thing in various cities for ten years now. If you haven't heard of it, it's basically a tiny microcosm of video game trade shows put on with the intention of welcoming actual gamers and fans instead of press or investors. The Expo is put on by the creators of the long-running Penny Arcade web comic and their team, hence the name.