Looking back on Android Wear 2.0

Posted by Matt Birchler
— 2 min read

Jerry Hildenbrand has a nice overview of Android Wear 2 after 6 months over on Android Central. There were a few points that stuck out to me.

It's worth mentioning that a Project Fi SIM gives you a great data connection and there are no restrictions on how you use that data, but you can't natively send text messages or make calls.

This is more a Project Fi thin, but I’m sorry, what is the point of having an LTE-connected smart watch if it can’t make calls or send texts? If I break my leg in the woods on a bike ride and only have my watch with me, I hope that my emergency contact is using WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger 🙄

Having said that, I don't have a need for a standalone LTE connection. I see why some folks do, but if you have your phone in your pocket all the time, it's just not something you'll be using very often.

I suspect this will be the case for a lot of people. I am very excited to have this myself, but I don’t know how much I will use it either. Maybe I’ll use it all the time, maybe I’ll use it for a month and wonder why I’m wasting $10/month on this extra data connection.

When you want to use Android Pay you'll need to open the app, let it load and hold the top of the watch near the payment terminal to pay with your default card.

What exactly does “open the app” mean? Do I need to go to the app list and tap on it or is there a hardware shortcut to do this? Double-tapping the side button on the Apple Watch is a completely painless way to do this on watchOS, and I’m curious if this is as shitty an experience as it sounds in the paragraph. I really hope not!

The "app drawer" puts recently used apps at the top of the list, which is awesome. Scrolling through the list isn't hard but seeing the handful of apps you use most on the screen together is a great touch.

watchOS 4’s dock can do either one of these for you, but it can’t do both, sadly. These watch operating systems need to figure out how to bring the apps you want to use to the top of the heap more automatically than they do today.

that. Having Google Assistant on your watch would be a lot better if Google Home and your phone didn't fight with it.

This is something watchOS and iOS handle very well. I can’t remember the last time I said “Hey Siri” and both my watch and phone started listening.

It also really struck me that this article doesn’t spend a word talking about health or exercise. Considering Apple is seeing huge success in the health tracking aspects of the Apple Watch (look at their marketing pages if you don’t believe me) it’s surprising to see Android folks not even bringing it up. This article talked about apps and payments and LTE, but it never said a thing about using it to track their fitness. Maybe that’s just not something the author is into, but it’s certainly a surprising omission in my eyes.