Up until now, there have only been two gestures on Android Wear (both of which I use constantly): scroll up by flicking the wrist in, and scroll down by flicking the wrist out. I've found these to be quick and easy ways of interacting with Android Wear, especially when I'm busy with other things or my hands are full. Since these were introduced, I've often hoped for more gestures, especially for things like exiting apps or going to the next screen.
With Android Wear 1.4 (Marshmallow), Google must've realized how valuable gestures can be, because it brought three new ones to the table: select, go back, and exit to watch face.
Version 1.4 of the Android Wear app started rolling out late Friday. The theme of this update, at least for what's currently live, is a set of changes to the Settings screen. There are a couple of new options, but they come at the expense of the battery stats screen. A look under the hood also shows that a few other features are either live or in the works for the next Wear OS update.
Todoist has been holding my professional and personal life together over the past couple of years, and that is no understatement. In my Stuff We Use article, I mentioned how I use it to prepare my pharmacy's daily orders, but I've also grown to rely on it for my regular to-dos, while preparing for trips, or when inspiration hits me and I come up with a new article idea for Android Police for example.
The Android app however has been relatively stagnant — beside adding Android Wear support — so it's good to finally see it take a major leap forward. This update has been available in beta for a while, so I've been able to test it out for a couple of weeks (and influence a couple of features in it — yes!) and I have to say that I really love what I see here.
Here's the problem with Android Wear. Although my G Watch R is always with me, notifying me and taking my commands, controlling it with anything but voice seems a tad cumbersome. You can realistically hold and interact with a phone using one hand, but you can't with a watch. You need both hands, which, if you ask me, feels like a step backwards sometimes. If my right hand is in my pocket, or holding something, steering, mixing a batch of cake filling, typing, grocery shopping, brushing my teeth, climbing a mountain, squeezing a lemon, or otherwise occupied, I have to interrupt whatever it is doing and bring it together with my left wrist to take care of a new notification on my watch.
Most rooted users already know about GMD Gesture Control—it's a way to control the device and launch apps with on-screen gestures. If you're not rooted, it's the kind of thing that might make you want to try. This app has just gotten a big (and much anticipated) update to v8.0 with a new design and support for Lollipop.
A couple of weeks ago, I shared with you a selection of lesser known music players for locally stored media that had some special powers and functions. However, playback and streaming aren't the only functions a music aficionado looks for, especially when your favorite app sometimes lacks a certain functionality. So how do you fill this void, or how do you improve on your basic listening experience? Here are 10 utilities that can be used in conjunction with your preferred music apps to complement them.
Viper4Android (Root only)
This entire article stemmed from the comments mentioning Viper4Android that we received on the original music player selection post.
Sometimes you've just got to sit back and marvel at the ingenuity of some Android developers. While Motorola was busy putting expensive infrared sensors all over the front of the new Moto X to enable a few gesture controls, developer OnTheGo Platforms was adding it in with something that just about every smartphone already has. Behold, BrainWave, an app that lets you play, pause, and navigate your music like a frickin' Jedi.
Once you've got the app set up, BrainWave "looks" through your phone's front-facing camera for a series of commands delivered via your right hand. Place your hand palm-down about a foot over your phone to pause or resume.
Thanks to Kickstarter and Indiegogo, there's no shortage of quirky (read: gimmicky) wearable products to throw money at. I won't pretend to understand what makes a product appealing to people, but at last I'm not the only one here at Android Police who has been baffled by some of the projects that have found crowdfunding success. So with this confidence-inducing introduction out of the way, I present to you Fin, a Bluetooth ring with gesture support that looks to be just shy of practical.
Using a virtual keyboard may not feel as natural as a physical one, but it's only the worst way to input text with a touchscreen except for all of the other ones. Swype has had the most success in revolutionizing how we enter text, as all of the major Android keyboards have since introduced gesture-based typing in subsequent upgrades, but it's far from perfect. That brings us to FlickKey Keyboard. It's a sliding keyboard that, by grouping letters into square groups of nine, aims to reduce how far across the screen our fingers need to slide.
Tapping a square enters the character in the middle.
Android's lock screen hasn't really changed since 4.2, but app developers keep coming up with new ways to wow us. Case in point: Cover. This alternative lockscreen replaces the default screen with a selection of quick-launch app icons, not unlike some of the manufacturer skins out there. But unlike TouchWiz or Sense, Cover automatically learns which apps you use at what times, and it comes with a ton of impressive UI features.
First of all, Cover lets you "peek" at the apps on your homescreen with a swipe gesture, allowing you to take a quick look at multiple apps without actually switching to any of them.