Sunday, June 23, 2024
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Android Wear

The Google Pixel Watch isn’t great, but it could still save Wear OS

Google has finally filled the 8-year-long void by launching the Pixel Watch. Is the mere gesture to launch a smartwatch enough to salvage Wear OS?

Fossil Gen 5 watches launch with 1GB RAM, smart battery modes

Whereas the first days of Wear OS (formerly Android Wear) were populated with devices from the likes of Motorola, LG, and Huawei, today’s climate is much different. Now the space is largely occupied by more traditional watch manufacturers.Fossil is one of those brands which has been around for much of Wear OS and who continues to push out products. Today finds the watch maker introducing its Gen 5 wearable. As often is the case with Fossil, the Gen 5 offer up a premium design that builds on its predecessors.The Carlyle HR and Juliana HR are both 44mm watches that are 12mm thick with 1.28-inch OLED displays. Additionally, both have a stainless steel body, rotating power button, and are compatible with 22mm bands. Multiple colorways are available for both versions.Things get pretty interesting for the Fossil Gen 5 in both hardware and software. Indeed, the watch now have Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 3100 chipset and are paired with 1GB RAM. Both should go a long way to improve performance and further battery life. Oh, and there’s 8GB of storage for apps and media, or about twice what you’ll find in previous watches.The Fossil Gen 5 are outfitted with a speaker which can be used for Google Assistant responses and taking calls from the wrist. And, with Spotify preloaded on the watch, it can also be used for listening to music — for better or worse.Other hardware worth pointing out are Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, NFC, a heart rate sensor, and wireless charging. According to Fossil, the Gen 5 can get up to 80% charge in one hour. The watch is also water resistant up to 30 meters so it works just fine in pools and showers.Fossil relies on some of the Snapdragon Wear 3100’s features to deliver four new battery saving modes including Extended, Daily, Custom, and Time-Only.Daily Mode works like any other Wear OS watch and delivers about 24 hours of battery life per charge. On the other end, the Extended Battery Mode promises “multiple days” on a single charge and doesn’t kill notifications or heart rate monitoring in the process.Fossil offers the Gen 5 in six color options, three of which fall under the Julianna HR and the other under the Carlyle HR. Think flashier and more stylish for the former and more muted and unassuming for the latter.The Fossil Gen 5 watches are available for $295 from Fossil’s website and will be sold through various retailers in the coming weeks.

Google ruined Wear OS

When Google decided to tackle the world of wearable devices, it began with Android Wear. Launched back in 2014, it would eventually become platform-agnostic and rebranded as Wear OS.It would not be much of an exaggeration to say that Wear OS has been stagnant over the last few years. Sure, there have been minor, incremental updates, but Wear OS has constantly lagged behind the competition.Over the last half decade Apple, FitBit, Garmin, and Samsung have gone on to find more success with consumers. The reasons vary for each, but it includes branding, prices, and features.Wrong since launchOne could argue that the main reasons Wear OS has fallen behind in features is due to the closed nature of the operating system. You see, when Google launched Android Wear, it made the decision to lock down the OS.Unlike what it did with Android, where manufacturers and carriers could make myriad changes to the experience, Android Wear OS was limited to strictly what Google did with it.Since manufacturers didn’t have the freedom to modify the software, they had to create products with one hand tied behind their back. And that pretty much continues to this day.Some device makers, such as Samsung, wouldn’t be held back by Android Wear/Wear OS. While it was offering wearables with Google’s platform, it was hedging its bets with a homegrown Tizen OS for smartwatches.Having full control over the hardware and software, Samsung was able to execute on a vision and produce one of the best watch options for Android users.Why fix what isn’t broken?Many of the great features we now enjoy as part of the default Android experience originated from phone makers tweaking software and hardware to make unique, compelling devices.Android was, and still is, freedom and permission innovate. Without it, features such as always-on displays, split-screen, quick switching between apps, picture-in-picture, and others might not have come around as soon, if ever.It’s not strictly software features that come with the openness but hardware as well. Fingerprint scanners and dual cameras received platform-level support because manufacturers had control over the software and hardware.At first, I was thrilled to hear that Google would maintain full control of Wear OS, because this meant products would get updates quicker and have longer support. No wonky software, or fragmented weird user experiences sounds great, right? As we now know, that’s what ruined it.The lack of collaboration and openness has left Wear OS devices in the dust, while others like Apple and Samsung continue to push forward.No Nexus or Pixel watchGoogle’s reluctance to release its own watch has also harmed the platform. It does a fantastic job of creating an experience that gives consumers a blend of hardware and software on the phone front.Since the Nexus One we’ve seen where Google thinks the phone space should be in terms of experience. Consumers get an annual reminder of what sort of innovation and technology belongs in the pockets of users.As to why it has never done this for wearables remains unclear.Time for a changeAs I write this, I sit here with a first-generation Huawei Watch. After nearly four years I have support for the latest Wear OS features like Tiles. You could argue that Google’s locked-down approach accomplished something.At the same time it has also left the platform lifeless. Timely updates and longer support are only worth it if the platform is worth using. As we’ve seen so far, things aren’t all that exciting on the watch front.Your thoughts?What would you do to address Wear OS? Is it salvageable or might it be better served by putting it out to pasture? Would a Pixel Watch pique your interest?Leave a comment below with your opinion on the state of Wear OS and where you think it will go.

Wear OS gets helpful “Tiles” widgets for improved user experience

Google, in its continual process to refine and enhance the Wear OS (formerly Android Wear), experience, has rolled out a new feature for its wearable platform.The latest change, Tiles, are glanceable widgets that can be swiped for information. Users can swipe to the left to pull up the tiles which can include details such as weather, calendar appointments, heart rate, news headlines, timer, and more.Whether you’re into headlines or heartbeats, you can tailor your watch to meet your needs. You’ll be able to stay connected to what’s important to you, and still keep tabs on other information and actions. We’ll continue to add more Tiles over time to help you stay connected to what matters most.Users can rearrange Tiles by tapping and holding; layout can also be adjusted via the Wear OS.The Tiles feature will be pushed out to Wear OS over the next month, according to Google. Worth noting is that not all Tiles details will be offered across all watches. Those without a heart rate monitor, of course, will not display any information.

Master Google’s Wear OS with these 16 essential tips and tricks

Google's Wear OS (formerly Android Wear) runs on loads of smartwatches now, but are you aware of everything it can do? These 16 tips and tricks will help you make the most of your smartwatch in a matter of minutes.The post Master Google’s Wear OS with these 16 essential tips and tricks appeared first on Digital Trends.

Nine tips to improve battery life on your smartwatch

Since the launch of smartwatches, one of the biggest complaints has been battery life. Some watches can last a day or two while others might be able to go several days on a charge. Regardless of whatever battery life you’re getting from your current watch, it could always be better.We’ve gathered up some tips on how to extend the battery life on your watch. By using one or several of these you can increase the time your watch stays on your wrist and off of the charger.ConnectivitySmartwatches stay connected several different ways including Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and cellular. For the most part they rely on the Bluetooth connection, as long as it is in range of your phone.One way you can save battery life is by disabling the connections you aren’t using or don’t need. For instance, if you have a cellular enabled watch but you don’t have a data plan for it, disable the cellular connection. In my case, I always have my phone near me so I disable the Wi-Fi connection to extend battery life on my watch.How to disable Wi-FiSwipe down the quick settingsTap the settings cogScroll and select ConnectivityTap on Wi-FiCheck if it is grayed out and if not toggle it offHow to disable cellularSwipe down the quick settingsTap the settings cogScroll and select ConnectivityTap on CellularToggle Cellular offDisplayThe display on your watch is one of the biggest battery hogs and you can greatly increase your battery life by adjusting the settings. Lowering the brightness is a great first step if you’re often indoors. The downside is that it will be harder to read outdoors in sunlight.If you don’t care for the always-on display, then disabling can result in a lot of extra battery life. Finally, try using a different watch face. Some watch faces can put a lot of strain on the battery life of your watch. In my experience, watch faces from the Play Store often offer better battery life over third-party apps such as WatchMaker or Facer.Lower brightnessSwipe down the quick settingsTap on the brightness toggle (sun icon) and adjust from thereDisable always on displaySwipe down the quick settingsTap the settings cogChoose DisplayScroll down and toggle Always-on screen offChange watch faceLong press on your current watch faceSwipe left or right and/or choose See more watch facesManage your apps and notificationsExcessive notifications or unnecessary apps can also be a drain on your battery life. The best way to manage these is by disabling notifications from these apps or uninstalling apps from your watch.Disabling notificationsOpen the Wear OS app on your phoneScroll down and choose NotificationsTap on Change watch notificationsNow toggle off any apps you don’t need notifications for on your watchUninstall appsSwipe down the quick settingsTap the settings cogChoose AppsSelect the app you no longer want and uninstallLast resortLet’s say you’ve done all of the above or you’re just in a situation where you won’t be able to charge for a while. In that case, you can give these options a try. Be forewarned, doing either of these will severely limit the capabilities of your watch.Turning on battery saver will disable or affect the following always-on display, vibration, location services, Wi-Fi and mobile data, watch SIM calls and SMS, and app updates. Turning on airplane mode will also disconnect your watch turning it into a dumb watch essentially.Turn on battery saverSwipe down the quick settingsTap on the battery iconTurn on airplane modeSwipe down the quick settingsTap on the airplane icon

Mobvoi TicWatch E2 review

Want a smartwatch that can track heart rate, has GPS, and interact with notifications — for cheap? Mobvoi’s Google Wear OS-based TicWatch E2 can do it all, for just $160.The post Mobvoi TicWatch E2 review appeared first on Digital Trends.

So just what exactly happened to last year’s CES prize winners?

What happened to the 14 prize-winning products we singled out as the coolest things we saw at last year's CES 2018? Join us as we take a look at what the past 12 months has meant for them.The post So just what exactly happened to last year’s CES prize winners? appeared first on Digital Trends.

So just what exactly happened to last year’s CES prize winners?

What happened to the 14 prize-winning products we singled out as the coolest things we saw at last year's CES 2018? Join us as we take a look at what the past 12 months has meant for them.The post So just what exactly happened to last year’s CES prize winners? appeared first on Digital Trends.

The five best Wear OS devices right now

There are a ton of different Wear OS watches out there, but which one's right for you? No matter what you're looking for from a smartwatch, here are the five best Wear OS watches out there.The post The five best Wear OS devices right now appeared first on Digital Trends.

As Wear OS ticks to a stop, Google needs to wind it back up

Google’s Wear OS should be competing with the Apple Watch, but instead it has been left to stagnate without useful new features, or even any attention at Google I/O. Wear OS can be saved, and there are companies out there trying to do it; but Google needs to understand it has a major part to […]The post As Wear OS ticks to a stop, Google needs to wind it back up appeared first on Digital Trends.

There’s a Wear OS alternative called AsteroidOS that you can install now

Starting to get a little tired of playing with the same software on your smartwatch? Turns out you have an open-source option, Linux-based smartwatch OS called AsteroidOS has just launched for a selection of watches.The post There’s a Wear OS alternative called AsteroidOS that you can install now appeared first on Digital Trends.

The only guide you need to get started with Google’s Wear OS

Got a new Wear OS smartwatch, but don't know how to set it up or use it properly? Here's how to add music, customize the watch face, block unwanted notifications, and carry out a host of other actions.The post The only guide you need to get started with Google’s Wear OS appeared first on Digital Trends.

10 of the most annoying Wear OS problems, and how to fix them

Running into issues with Google's Wear OS? Lucky for you, we've rounded up some of the more common Wear OS problems, along with some workarounds and potential solutions for solving them.The post 10 of the most annoying Wear OS problems, and how to fix them appeared first on Digital Trends.

Check out 25 of the best Wear OS apps for your smartwatch

Looking for some ways to spruce up that new Android smartwatch of yours? Here are the best Wear OS apps to download and use with any Android smartwatch, including a few specially enhanced for Wear OS 2.0.The post Check out 25 of the best Wear OS apps for your smartwatch appeared first on Digital Trends.

Hublot’s luxury Wear OS smartwatch will give soccer fans World Cup updates

Hublot has launched the first smartwatch running Wear OS -- and it's a $5,200 watch that will give you constant updates about the upcoming soccer World Cup in Russia. It will even be used by referees during the cup.The post Hublot’s luxury Wear OS smartwatch will give soccer fans World Cup updates appeared first on Digital Trends.