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Smartwatches

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Withings is back with the Steel HR Sport, a hybrid smartwatch with advanced multisport tracking

Although its watches don't run Wear OS, we've followed Withings closely for a few reasons. For one, it makes beautiful minimalist watches with some smart fitness tracking features added in (I own an Activité Steel and I love it). The French company has also been in the news a lot due to Nokia acquiring it, turning it into its Digital Health Division, and then selling it back to its co-founder.

The first product to be released since all of that is the Steel HR Sport, another hybrid smartwatch with a small OLED display that can show your phone notifications, fitness data, and alarm settings, but this time it has more advanced activity tracking features.

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Samsung Galaxy Watch review: A competent smartwatch you probably shouldn't buy right now

Samsung was among the first large tech companies to launch a smartwatch, and it ran Android before Android Wear existed. Samsung's interest in Android-powered wearables had waned since then. Now, it's all about Tizen despite recent rumors to the contrary. The Galaxy Watch drops the "Gear" branding, but it keeps Tizen. It looks like a real watch, like all of Samsung's recent models. Samsung is really embracing the watch aesthetic this time around, going so far as to make the device tick when you look at the watch face.

In the end, it's still not a real watch—you have to charge it every few days, and it's a bit bulky compared to a mechanical watch.

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Appfour releases 6 new apps for Wear OS: Altimeter, Compass, GPS Tracker, Speedometer, Stopwatch, and the all-in-one Instruments

Appfour are one of the most prolific Wear OS (né Android Wear) developers. Their solutions for the smartwatch platform have spanned from the useful (like this WiFi manager) to the why-and-why-not (like this video player, PDF viewer, browser) and so much more. Now, they're bringing six new mostly GPS-based utilities to our smartwatches.

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Google Pay on Wear OS works in Germany

As we've learned over the past few years, having a Google service available in your country isn't enough to use it on all your devices. Google Pay, for example, is supported for in-store payments in twenty countries, but only if you're using your phone to make the transaction. If you have a Wear OS smartwatch, however, the Google Pay app won't show up on the watch unless you're in a few countries. At first, the feature came to the US and UK, then it spread to Spain, Canada, and Australia, followed by Poland and Russia. The latest country to join the ranks is Germany.

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Casio's new Pro Trek Wear OS watch is a little less chunky but just as tough

Casio's Pro Trek line of smart watches started in 2016 with the WSD-F10, a bulky, expensive Android Wear device with aesthetics and a feature set slanted at the outdoorsy market. The company followed up in 2017 with the WSD-F20, a refinement on the concept. Now, Casio is back at it with the WSD-F30, which is less chunky, but still rugged (and expensive).

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Diesel's fashion-forward Full Guard 2.5 is one of the biggest Wear OS smartwatches on the market

Diesel debuted its first full smartwatch last year, the On Full Guard, a bulky, 1.4-inch display-toting device powered by a Snapdragon Wear 2100 processor that was clearly aimed more at achieving a particular aesthetic than serious functionality. After middling reviews and a year to mull over the original product's strengths and weaknesses, Diesel came to an important conclusion: it needed to be bigger. Thus, the Diesel Full Guard 2.5 was introduced today at IFA, with a 47 by 56mm case, roughly 10mm or so larger than most Wear OS watches on the market.

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Skagen Falster 2 brings NFC, GPS, and heart rate tracking to the company's minimal Wear OS smartwatch

When it was announced at CES 2018, Skagen's Falster watch was one of the prettiest and most minimalist Wear OS watches to date. In my review of it, I liked the design but criticized some hardware decisions, like the lack of NFC, GPS, and heart rate monitoring. All three features have been added to the new Falster 2, which has just been announced.

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Fossil 4th generation smartwatches get discreet emergency alert feature from Noonlight

One of the no-brainer use cases for smartwatches is providing users with an easy way to call for help, and yet in many cases it's a multi-step process that requires an accompanying phone. Fossil is planning to address this gap in the market by partnering with digital safety platform Noonlight to integrate a discreet 911 alert button on its fourth generation smartwatches. The application will come pre-installed (and at no extra cost) on the new Wear OS-powered Fossil smartwatches. Meanwhile, those that have already shipped will receive an update rolling out soon.

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Google is making Wear OS app quality guidelines mandatory

If you've been a Wear OS user for a while, odds are you've noticed that wearable apps in the Play Store are sometimes not very good. Google is looking to change that, and asking nicely didn't work. Soon, the app quality guidelines that rolled out with Wear 2.0 will become mandatory.

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If the Galaxy Watch really delivers on Samsung's claims, I just might reconsider wearing a smartwatch

Smartwatches have always been a tough sell for me. In theory, I like the idea of having access to maps, weather, notifications, and fitness data right on my wrist – and who wouldn't? But with bulky cases, embarrassingly low battery life, and unintuitive interfaces, using one has long felt like a chore. While I'd love to live life on the bleeding edge, the polish just hasn't been there, and time after time (no pun intended) I'd find myself returning to really basic dumbwatches – ones that do little more than tell the time, but weigh next to nothing and have batteries that last for years.

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