Why Android Wear Still Isn’t The Ideal Smartwatch Offering
Android Wear is the smartwatch OS that made everyone in the tech world drool. It looks gorgeous, has beautiful hardware offering, great software, and does exactly what many of us want. But it’s not perfect. There are still plenty of different things that Android Wear doesn’t bring to the table that we still want.
Use Apart From A Phone
Android Wear has to be connected to a phone to be of any real use. While there are likely a few things you could do while disconnected, it’s going to be an extremely narrow set of features. For instance, the “OK, Google” hotword won’t work. Notifications won’t come in. Google Now won’t do anything. In short, if you take away the phone, you’ll basically have a regular watch on your wrist. I’d like to see an Android Wear watch in the near future that can be used apart from your phone. Now I’m not looking to replace my phone with a watch or anything, but it would be nice to be able to perform quick searches from my wrist or set reminders even if my phone’s battery is dead or if my phone simply isn’t with me. A smartwatch doesn’t have to be smart just because it doesn’t have a phone nearby.
Android Wear is compatible with plenty of major smartphones. Anyone using Android 4.3 and up can use an Android Wear device. However that requirement immediately takes away nearly 75% of Android users. Granted those who are looking to get a smartwatch right now likely have a flagship phone, it’s still shocking to see that Android Wear isn’t compatible with more devices. Another drawback is that it doesn’t work with iOS or Windows Phone. There are many people who switch back and forth between mobile platforms and they simply cannot have a smartwatch for every platform. Generally these users resort to a Pebble smartwatch. This watch is compatible with both Android and iOS. As usual though, Windows Phone is left out of the picture. I think that Android Wear would appeal to many more people if they could use it cross-platform. I’ve even seen people who went to Google I/O already selling their Android Wear devices because they can’t use them on an iPhone.
Smartwatches are a want, not a need. So it’s up to the user how a smartwatch could fit into their life and budget. So far we’ve seen two Android Wear smartwatches, the LG G Watch and Samsung Gear Live. Both these devices aren’t absurdly expensive like some other smartwatches might be (cough, Apple), but they aren’t exactly cheap. Other options like the Pebble can be had for as little as $150 while there’s nothing in Android’s court under $199. The Gear Live is priced at $199 and the G Watch is at $229. There are other watches confirmed to come such as the Moto 360 but that watch is rumored to come in at a price as high as $349! There are rumors of lower cost Android Wear hardware, but nothing has been confirmed yet.
A standard watch pretty much never dies. Change has to come eventually but it’s still weird to think that you need to charge your watch at night. The Pebble combats this by using an E-Ink screen that allows the device to bring battery life sometimes going up to a week. Android Wear can’t touch that. Both the Gear Live and G Watch likely won’t last more than two days at absolute best. Not everyone wants to plug in their watch at night. Personally I don’t really mind all that much. If my watch can get through a day, I have no problem adding it to the things that I already plug in each night.
When it comes to smartwatches, there is no perfect option yet. The Pebble nails it in places where Android Wear doesn’t, but it also sacrifices a color screen and tons of functionality. What would you need in your ideal smartwatch? Let us know in the comments below. We would love to hear your thoughts.