Developer Mocha17 noticed that if you count the wrist where you're actually wearing an Android Wear watch, you actually have to use two hands to access notifications. It's a fair point, and one that's solved with his custom Wear app, JorSay (Hindi for "aloud"). The idea is simple: when you feel a vibration for an incoming notification, shake your wrist twice, and your phone will speak the notification aloud using Android's built-in text-to-speech system.
One of the worst things about fitness tracking apps is that they often require users to tell them when an activity starts. This can be a pretty big inconvenience, especially for people that keep their phones stowed in closed pockets or an arm band without easy access to the screen. The latest update to Fit might save many people from having to reach for their phone at all. Wear users can now start and stop activity trackers directly from the mini-app.
The main phone app doesn't seem to have any notable changes, so this update is all about Wear.
Inbox for Gmail continues to stack on new features and refine its existing capabilities. While it may never fit the needs of many Gmail users, it has earned a strong following of fans that couldn't live without it. The latest release doesn't appear to add anything to the user experience, but a teardown shows a few of the changes that may be on the horizon.
Disclaimer: Teardowns are necessarily speculative and usually based on incomplete evidence. It's possible that the guesses made here are totally and completely wrong. There is always a chance that details may change or plans may be cancelled prior to the launch of a new feature discovered in a teardown.
Google Keep just received a relatively light update, bringing it to version 3.2. This one doesn't bring much in the way of major functional improvements, but there are a couple of things worth noting. There are brand new welcome images to help new (and possibly existing) users figure out how to get the most out of Keep. The apk has also lost a little bit of weight, and it's now ready for the new Android M permission model.
Redmond may be riding high on some well-deserved positive press after the launch of Windows 10, but the various developer teams are still going full steam with diverse support for other platforms. Microsoft has released more apps for Android than anyone might have expected from an erstwhile competitor, and it continues to improve them. Today the note syncing app OneNote gets some notable improvements, specifically by requiring one less app.
Previously Microsoft released a stand-alone Android Wear app for OneNote, which allowed users to view notes on their watches and create new ones with a voice command. Now that separate app is no longer necessary, as the functionality is baked into the main app.
Frequent travelers know Google Maps all too well. It's one of the most widely used apps on Android for a reason. A brand new update to version 9.8 just turned up, and there are a few notable changes to take a look at. This release appears to be dedicated to fine-tuning different parts of the interface, so there aren't any big changes here. Maps now gives users the option to upload multiple photos simultaneously, hide reservations from location cards, and more. As usual, we've got a download link at the bottom of the page if you'd rather jump straight to the apk.
Google Keep was one of the first apps to add support for the Android Wear platform, giving users a quick, simple, and mostly effortless way to record short notes without reaching for a smartphone. Since then, the main application has seen several updates, but the Wear-specific companion app has gone mostly unchanged. With the latest update, the tables have been turned, and it's time for the Wear app to go through a moderately sizeable refresh.
In earlier versions of Keep's micro apk, the app only served as a target for voice commands and a way to browse existing notes.
A lot of you might like to follow the example of the esteemed Johnny Paycheck, and tell your boss to Take This Job and Shove It. Alas, if you want to keep eating and sleeping indoors, you'll simply have to take comfort in Alan Jackson's less confrontational message: It's Five O'clock Somewhere. But if you've got an Android Wear device, we've found a watch face that might just make your Shift Work (Kenny Chesney) more bearable by showing you exactly when you can start singing the 5:01 Blues with Merle Haggard.
The 9to5 Working Hours watch face uses the segmented radial approach to scheduling that we've seen before in apps like 12Hours.
Unified Remote is a remarkably powerful app for remotely controlling the functions of your PC. (Not your TV, unless you have an IR port.) The last beta release of the app, which used the frustrating Google Groups testing system, implemented remote control support via an Android Wear app. Now you can get that Wear support in the standard Play Store version, no beta opt-in necessary. You'll need the full version, a $4 add-on, to access the Wear app.
Using the customization tool in the phone version of Unified Remote, simple commands from the various hardware and web service functions of the Unified Remote server can be accessed on your wrist.
Now that Amazon has consolidated most of its Android offerings into a single Play Store app, the company will need to keep it updated and relatively interesting to remain relevant to users. The first major update since the redesign does just that, making sure that the Amazon app is compatible with the new Android 5.0 devices and software builds. But wait, there's more! The updated app now includes support for Android Wear.
Specifically, you can use the Android Wear component to make a voice search for products (which was added to the primary app in version 5.1) with the activation phrase "start Amazon." The Wear app can also add items to your Amazon Wish List, or even buy them directly, though I have to say that I don't think I'd feel comfortable making an instant purchase from my watch.