Is it the age of the smartwatch yet? I don't know, but developers are sure acting like it is. You can hardly turn around without seeing another new watch face or utility for Android Wear. Google still hasn't made it particularly easy to find new Wear apps, but we're keeping track of all the best new stuff, and here it is.
Android Wear 5.0 is finally out on all devices, and that means developers are playing a little catch-up. Not only are there new system features to take advantage of, we finally have full support for custom watch faces. Many of the previously released ones have been updated for Android 5.0, but we're focusing here mostly on newly added apps and watch faces.
A lot of the new Android Wear watch faces are cool, and a surprising number of them are free. The settings also tie into the Android Wear app, so make sure to head there as you try all the stuff on this list.
Big tech companies are hesitant to admit when a competing platform offers something that they don't. But the folks at Pebble are more than ready to take advantage of the functionality introduced by Android Wear. The team has pushed out a beta that lets the Pebble not only interact with notifications, but respond to them in a manner akin to an Android Wear watch.
Instead of swiping from the right repetitively to access various options (as you would with Android Wear), Pebble lets you access different options using the three physical buttons available on the side of the watch.
Developers don't have to do anything to optimize their apps for Pebble.
This weekend's poll is another throwback, but this one's just a couple months out of its one-year anniversary, having been asked back in October of 2013. This year's poll options will be a little different, as the number of new crowdfunded smartwatches seems to be slowing a bit (especially in terms of media coverage), and smartwatches themselves are much more widely available than they were a year ago.
Last year, we saw just over 20% of you answer that you owned a smartwatch. A little over 5% said they had backed a smartwatch crowdfunding campaign or had a smartwatch on pre-order, but the lion's share of votes went to "no," at 71% of the total.
Here's a feature I have yearned for in Android Wear since I first used my LG G Watch: disabling the gesture monitoring that wakes the screen when you tilt the watch toward you. Sure, it feels a bit magical at first, but I am a fairly active person and I wave and gesture a lot when I'm talking. This means that my watch's screen keeps turning on when I'm running, driving, or just having a regular conversation. It's distracting, especially at night when I'm driving or riding in a car, and it sure wasn't helping the battery life either. Wear 5.0.1 solves this issue for me and everyone else who has been annoyed by it.
With the holiday season now fully underway, maybe you've decided to treat yourself to a new Android Wear watch. But what do you do with it once you get it on your wrist? You can only respond to so many text messages from your wrist. That's why we've got this roundup thing we do, that way you'll have stuff on your wrist that makes the smartwatch investment worthwhile. Well, maybe kind of worthwhile. I guess that all depends on how badly you want a smartwatch.
Break Timer: Type strain free
If you spend a lot of time typing, as does the AP staff, you know it can cause discomfort down the line.
IP infringement and the internet have a long and storied history. Never has it been so easy to share so much so quickly so anonymously - something any college student with a campus broadband connection generally discovered as an almost dorm room rite of passage from the late 90s onward. Music, films, television, games, and other software have long been the most-pirated content categories, in turn provoking varying degrees of legal response from the industries who own and distribute such content.
But long before pirating was yet a twinkle in Usenet's eye, counterfeiting was already making design and trademark infringement an economic powerhouse.
The Pebble folks have announced a big update to the smartwatch that many wearers have been waiting a long time for. With version 2.1 of the Android companion app, users can receive notifications from any app they have on their device, rather than a few preset options, without having to turn to a third-party solution. People will have the ability to receive all notifications or select specific apps.
The update is only available to 10% of users today, but it will gradually roll out to more people running Android 4.3 or higher. Eventually the team will add support for older devices running Android 4.0 to 4.2.
Technology is rad, isn't it? I mean, here we are with smartwatches on our wrists with pretty respectable LCD and AMOLED screens. We were using phones a few years ago that didn't have many more pixels than our watches have. Might as well put those pixels to use showing something pretty, like images from 500px. You can do that with Mural Watchface.
Google still hasn't added official support for third-party Android Wear watch faces, but the recent update to 4.4W.2 that added the ability to hide peek cards is good enough for me. You can finally see your whole watch face, and with Wear FaceLift, you'll see more of them. This app lets you rotate your watch faces at set intervals throughout the day.