Google I/O conference which was held recently, had revealed the new Android Wear software which has already been integrated in the smart watches developed by LG and Samsung respectively. These smart watches have really made it convenient for the user to get all his notifications and basic smartphone functionalities in his wrist. No longer do you have to take out your phone every time you hear a notification. With the new Android Wear, you can not only view the notification, but you can also take any action on it.
But before you can use it, you need to download the application on your smart phone so that it may be paired with the smart watch device. Pairing is done with the use of Bluetooth so it could prove to be a battery drainer. If you can live with this, then this might be a good accessory for you. But be warned, unless you have a smartphone that runs on Android 4.3 or above, this watch would be nothing more than a fancy watch that adds to your list of things that only have face value.
Time is Just One of the Features of this Device
This is a watch, even if it is a fancy one, so time will be displayed. The device is capable of displaying time in your preferred format which includes classic analog clock options, bright and fun digital layouts and some creative blends. But this doesn’t stop here. The moment you swipe the screen in the upward direction, you get tiny cards that display information related to weather, notifications on your phone and even personal health metrics (if this is configured in your phone).
Google’s latest inclusion in its arsenal, Google Now, is also included in this device and can be accessed by swiping left on the main screen. With this, you can issue commands by simply saying “OK Google”. Voice recognition is rather commendable on this device and can detect your voice even in noisy environments. This is a great advantage to people who find it difficult to operate their smartphones with their voices in loud areas. And you may forget about an event or a task, but if you have set up a reminder, the device will simply fire away notifications till you have been thoroughly reminded of your work.
Personal Assistance Available at Your Wrist
This watch is the closest that you can get to Jarvis with the current technological support. The inclusion of Google Now means that the device is able to mine data from Gmail, Weather Alerts, Web Searches and just about anything that you do on your smartphone. In a way, this helps the software to understand your requirements and it schedules your next appointment, event or activity before you even realize it.
At the right time, the device will remind of an upcoming schedule. And this is not one of those robotic sounding virtual assistants. The software interacts with you just like a friend. You can expect to hear things like, “You should leave now for your meeting with representatives from ABC Company.”
This feature can also help you to plan your travel routes. Once you have configured your source and destination, the software will tell you about the existence of alternate or shorter paths if you need such information. Such functionalities make this software far superior to its competitors and surely gives it the edge that could prove it better than Apple’s contending device.
However, you need to make your preferences and required information available to Google so that it may analyse and use the ones that are required for you. Due to such convenience, third party vendors and developers are also trying their hand at coming up with apps designed to work with this amazing software.
While the device may be a cool accessory to control basic functions of your smartphone, the notifications need to be streamlined because if you are a “connected” person, then the watch would simply be buzzing all the time with notifications. This can make it an irritating device.
Google’s director of Android engineering, David Singleton, commented on this issue by stating, “There are those who love to have exactly the same content on their phone and watch because it gives them the comfort that they don’t need to pull out their phones. Then there are those, including me, who want a watch to report just what’s important.”
Sample Cards That Come Up As Notifications in Android Wear
As a response to the notification issue, Google has come up with a way of muting the notifications on the watch while allowing them to appear in the phone. This will ensure that none of the notifications are missed and you would be bugged by the constant buzzing of the device.
To mute an app, you need to access the Android Wear app on your smartphone and go into the settings section. (This can be done by tapping on the double-gear icon along the top). Now you need to select the first option of “Mute app notifications” and add the apps you’d like to exclude from the watch. It’s pretty simple to turn the notification off and by doing so, you will be able to get only those notifications which are important to you.
Android Wear coupled with smartwatches is indeed a convenient accessory. The muting feature provided in the device helps it to keep away from becoming a constantly buzzing nuisance. While so many notifications in the watch may get too overwhelming for the first time user, you only need to spend some time to identify the perfect notification level that you are comfortable with. Unless you find that sweet spot, you won’t be able to extract the maximum performance from the device. Indeed, the development of Android Wear is changing the way we communicate in our personal and professional lives.
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