In case any of you are wondering why I’ve been buying up so
many Smartwatches lately, here’s why…
(Warning - it's a long read
Originally when I launched “Zooper Wear” a little over a year ago, it was only for phones. The plan was to eventually bring it to watches, but I was going to wait for Android Wear devices to come out before tackling that.
Then, soon after release, people kept Emailing me asking if I support current Smartwatches. I regrettably had to keep saying “No, sorry”.
I needed to find a way to support watches before
Android Wear devices came out, but how?
I decided that since financially I wouldn’t be able to afford to buy a Smartwatch to support (I already owned at the time an original Pebble & knew supporting that was out of the question
), so I had to come up with a way to support devices without buying them.
Would this even be possible?
There were emulators, sure, however, I knew I didn’t want to solely rely on emulators, so how would I support devices without owning them?
Could I perhaps buy them, add support then refund? Sure, however I didn’t want to go this route.
I decided I’d try asking people for help.
So, I joined the Omate TrueSmart Google+ Community & posted that I was working on an App but needed help from owners to test it.
I immediately got an overwhelming response. Seemed a lot of people were eager, a lot more than I had expected. I unfortunately needed to keep it contained, so I only accepted the first 25 people.
With those initial people joining my Google BETA Community, I worked daily, updating often 2-3times per day for a few weeks.
How that process went was:1
they’d then download the update3
they'd then post pictures of it on their device4
I’d look at the pictures & make adjustments & the process would repeat
After a few weeks, the App was ready, but how would I get pictures for the Play Store that were of decent quality?
Well, the Community helped me out again by taking some pretty high quality pictures!
Then, once that first proof of concept
was completed, I figured I’d try to see if it was repeatable with other Smartwatches people were requesting I support.
Thankfully & to my surprise, it was!
New people joined a new Google+ BETA Community for the new version of my App for the different Smartwatch - this time, the Sony Smartwatch (1 & 2
In this time, I tried a couple ways to mirror it from phone-to-watch (which wasn’t needed on the Omate TrueSmart as it’s a s”standalone” full-featured Android device
I settled with +Sterling Udell
's “Wearable Widgets”.
That one thankfully took considerably less time.
Now it was May/June & I knew Android Wear was around the corner, so what could I do to continue supporting more Smartwatches?
I reached out to Sterling & that’s where everything changed (at least for me
In July, once Android Wear devices were released, I repeated the process - create a Google+ Community & ask help from others to test & post pics.
However, I knew that it wouldn’t be as easy since there would be a lot
more devices & a lot
more eyeballs on my App.
So, I purchased an LG G Watch & I was for the first time, testing the Smartwatch version of my App on my own.
I was still having people help, but this time I was relying less on them since I could test on my end.
The App actually went live within less than a week of people receiving the first batch of Android Wear devices!
That went great for a couple months…until the Moto 360 came out.
I knew I didn’t want to purchase one, but that I did of course want to support it.
So I again repeated what had been working for me & created a new Goole+ Community with others with the Moto 360 testing for me.
That one had a few snags along the way & was a little bit of a bumpy journey, however, over all it went well & was released within a few weeks of people receiving Moto 360 devices.
So, I now supported the Omate TrueSmart, Sony SW 1 & 2, square-shaped Android Wear devices as well as circular Android Wear devices…all while only owning an LG G Watch.
What was next?
I wanted to expand the family of devices I support, so I attempted to repeat the process for the Neptune Pine.
Unfortunately, the device itself seemed to be a failure - there were no Google+ Communities for it & no Apps on the Play Store.
So, without being able to recruit Testers, that project fizzled & is pretty much dead at this point.
I picked myself up from that though & soon the LG G Watch R
would be released.
I decided it was time for me to take testing of circular Wear devices back into my own hands a little so the day it launched, I bought the R
There were a few adjustments I needed to make, but within about a week, it was on the Play Store.
Then came the Galaxy Gear S
Should I try my previously successful method of testing without owning the device? Would it fail like the Neptune Pine?
I gave it a try & within less than a week, it was once again up on the Play Store thanks to the help of some truly awesome testers!
Fast forward to now…
“Zooper Wear” in conjunction with “Wearable Widgets” supports:>
all circular Android Wear devices>
all square-shaped Android Wear devices>
all Tiezen-based Galaxy Gear devices>
Sony Smartwatch 1 & 2 (pre-Android Wear
Omate TrueSmart (independent of “Wearable Widgets”
Pretty much any modern Smartwatch out there!
However, even though my Apps support all those devices, I felt I needed to have them.
Primarily because while I love
getting help from others, I wanted to have more control of testing & pictures.
So, over the past month, I’ve gone out & purchased pretty much all of them (only exception being the Gear S
Now that I have all the devices, I can more thoroughly go through each of them & make any adjustments. I can also take pictures for the Play Store & potentially market the Apps better - I’ve pretty much just used word-of-mouth, but that isn’t really cutting it, lately.
So, what have I learned over the past year?
Mostly that people are awesome! If you ask for their help, you’ll generally get it.
I mean I started out with a single little App meant for a tiny sub-set of Users & it’s now grown into a much
larger suite of Apps supporting more devices than I could have imagined a year ago!
What’s next for Zooper Wear?
Really I don’t know.
Will it continue to support Android Wear devices? Of course!
Will it support stand-alone devices? If I can afford them, yes!
Will it support other devices like the Pebble Time? That’s entirely up to Sterling as my Apps depend on his.
He’s been a fantastic guy to work with over the past 10-12 months. I really couldn’t have asked for a nicer guy to work with!
So, to sum it up, I thank everyone who’s been on this journey with me over the passed year or so & look forward to what the future brings!