My Thoughts on Android Wear (G Watch)
Before going to the IO this year it was already well known that Android Wear will be one of the main focus areas. It was. So much so that all attendees left the event with either the Samsung Gear Live or LG G Watch device.
When I was asked about the Android Wear before the conference and during the first conference day (we received the devices on the second day) my answer always was: I'm skeptical but open to be convinced.
And boy, was I convinced. +Ian Lake
already wrote about the amazing first time experience in his post here: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+IanLake/posts/8JPBVi5s9JZ
That was striking to me as well. The lobby of Moscone during Google IO right when thousands of people are handed new devices is probably the worst possible conditions to get the devices paired, updated and functioning but this one just worked. I'd even say, magical..
In this one week I've been wearing the device it has changed my habits. It has had visible impact in social interaction with other people. This was very visible in any post-IO events. Where people normally sit their phones in front of them or them using the devices the phones now stayed in their pockets.
Google has pulled off something pretty unique here. This is a new type of device (in their ecosystem). Usually launches like these come with disclaimer "this will be useful to you once devs get their apps integrated". In this case the apps already are there. Everything is ready. This is exactly what I was hoping to see (https://plus.google.com/u/0/+JuhaniLehtim%C3%A4ki/posts/dLWqPveXDSP
It is also pretty reasonable to expect that the Wear will get even better when developers improve their integration and add better notifications and 2-way communication.
Let me give you 2 very different usage situations where this device has proven its worth:
1) This one is extremely simple. Many of us use Swarm to check in to places. This often trigger notifications to our friends. Without Wear you will be pulling out your phone and see this fairly unimportant notification (in most situation), you swipe it away and put your phone back to you pocket. When wearing Wear you will get the same information with a glance and you can dismiss the notification with a simple swipe. You will literally have the exact same information without interrupting what you were doing. Perfect!
2) Second example is a bit more active. The navigation support on the Wear is amazing. It seamlessly extends the phone experience. Start a navigation from your phone and your Wear device will automatically start showing you the next turn. It will even vibrate when you're close. Both devices stay in sync and you can still pull out your phone and change the selected route or get more contextual information. This is simply mind blowing. Some would say revolutionary.
Before the IO I said that my benchmark for Wear is that is has to make me not pull out my phone enough to justify the device. It definitely does. I might not be lying too much if I say that I now use Wear to react to events maybe 100 times a day instead of using my phone. I pay more attention to the people around me and the environment. I'm sold.
Now, what about the hardware itself. I picked the LG G-watch. I simply cannot make myself wear a Samsung device. Unfortunately the Samsung might be a better device. It certainly has a better display and has some hardware features the LG doesn't have. The LG is downright ugly but at least people won't think I've bought the Samsung Gear 2....
Would I buy the LG G-watch? I'm not sure. It is very expensive and we have been spoiled with the high density displays in our pockets which makes the LG watch screen look dated. I still love the device but it might be a bit too highly priced for me to give my unreserved recommendation to buy it. The battery life also seems to be a bit iffy but I'm getting by with it.
The Moto 360 is the one to get.. unless Motorola slams it with 300e price tag. I got to see the device live and to compare it to my LG device. The 360 is gorgeous! It is considerably larger but it's a stylish fashion item. It's screen is higher density and comes with beautiful watch faces.
If you have already ordered the LG or Samsung you'll probably be happy with them but if you haven't I'd recommend to wait to see what the 360 price tag will be.
Android Wear is a hit. It fills a real need in a geek's life. The software is great but the current hardware isn't perfect. Google has truly delivered something new and innovative here. Tip of my hat!