• Wearable Wednesdays: Android Wear is Terrible

    The watches themselves are nice, but it's time to face facts: having a touchscreen on my wrist is just plain awful. I can't imagine that an Apple Watch is much better, but I've almost no firsthand experience with that platform. As for Android Wear specifically, here's how I've come to my conclusion...

    My Pebble is far from perfect. With its low resolution screen, massive bezels and lack of designer watch faces I frequently get smartwatch envy. Making matters worse is that my Pebble been mistaken for an Apple Watch more than once—for an Android fanboy this is entirely unacceptable. Plus, watches are supposed to be round, right? Android Wear is clearly the better choice. I frequently make plans to re-pair one of the three Android watches in my possession, only to back out at the last minute, deciding that it's not worth the hassle.

    This past Monday I didn't back out: I re-paired my Nixon Mission and installed the necessary apps to enjoy my morning walk. While I'm out I listen to podcasts, and have to skip through ads more often than I'd like. Here's the first place where Android Wear fails. Once you swipe to the appropriate screen there are software buttons to skip ahead or back, but on a touch screen they just don't work reliably. On a Pebble you can accomplish this without even looking at the watch—provided that you've assigned its built-in music player to a shortcut key. The steps are (1) long-press your shortcut key, (2) press the down button to skip ahead 30 seconds, (3) continue enjoying your podcast.

    Notifications on Android Wear are fine unless, like me, you depend on the native reminders built into Google Calendar and Inbox. Dismissing a notification on an Android watch will also remove it from your Android phone. The problem is, dismissing a Google reminder will also mark it as completed. This means that when a reminder pops up on my Android Wear watch I'm basically unable to use it until the reminder goes away on its own. That's some pretty terrible UX right there...

    Finally, I don't think it's too much to ask for a $500-plus smartwatch to be always on. The standby screen on my Nixon Mission doesn't really count, as it shows none of the complications selected for my chosen watch face. And even the standby screen sometimes goes dark as well, leaving me with nothing else to look at other than the smudge-fest you see above. This is also problem with Watch OS; as I see more and more Apple Watches on peoples' wrists I can't help but notice their dormant displays, and can't help thinking to myself: "What exactly are you people paying for?"

    Again, my Pebble is far from perfect. But as a smartwatch, even a timepiece it's so much better than Android Wear. In fact, I've yet to see anything out there that's as intuitive and downright enjoyable to use.

    This article was originally published in forum thread: Wearable Wednesdays: Android Wear is Terrible started by acurrie View original post
    Comments 5 Comments
    1. dragon2knight's Avatar
      dragon2knight -
      C'mon now, Android Wear isn't that terrible...are you using the latest version? 2.0 flat out blows away earlier versions. Is it perfect? Nope. But I do like the ease of getting at apps now as well as the expanded ways to answer someone back...all told, I like it. Pebble was the best to me as well, but I've finally moved on and accepted the fact that that awful, horrid Fitbit has forever deprived the world of such a great brand GRRRRR (well, maybe I'm not over that just yet ).
    1. acurrie's Avatar
      acurrie -
      I'm clearly not over it, either.

      Here's some more bad news about Android Wear: according to Android Police all the watch listings have been removed from the Play Store for some reason...
    1. dragon2knight's Avatar
      dragon2knight -
      Seriously, I think all smartwatches may fizzle out eventually, they honestly don't make their makers any money...Even Apple doesn't turn much of a profit on their watch. I have to admit I'm gonna hate when that happens, I'm kinda addicted to them,lol. Here's to hoping it doesn't happen anytime soon though
    1. uncreative's Avatar
      uncreative -
      Personally, I love my Huawei smartwatch (first gen). The upgrade to 2.0 improved it some. I do miss the complications from the always on display, though. I think that the biggest issue with smartwatches is that most people purchase watches with the idea they will use them for many years. I think the manufacturers had the idea that people would replace them every couple of years just like the cellphones. As the people interested in the smartwatch have mostly already purchased, the sales have dropped off impacting the profitability of the devices. Also, how much stuff can you actually do to a watch to make it interesting enough to "upgrade"?
    1. Groot's Avatar
      Groot -
      Some thoughts, in Canada Android Pay is my killer app. Love it no more cards or reaching for my wallet just tap my watch. Google Play and the watch app are basically mainly face which for me is ok. I want the Android Wear Watch first to tell time, then Android and my notifications, finally things like upcoming calendar appointments, weather, and steps.

      What more do I need it is a watch ? Do not even want to try and play games.

      Android Wear gives me everything I want.

      For the most part the negative articles come from people that say this is silly I can do all this and more with my phone. They miss the point that your phone is 95% of the time in your pocket, and an Android Wear device is on your wrist.

      Tell time .... what i am going to pull my phone out to tell time ? No look at the wrist. Hear a notification beep pull the phone out after annoying everybody in the meeting just to find out it could of waited.

      Google pulled all watches from the US store, so we had nothing in Canada for a very long time. Google said they did this because on the Device Store they want to sell Google branded devices only. You can still buy Android Wear, Best Buy, Amazon.... This is inconvenient only. I recently purchase the LG Sport from Amazon got it in 2 days and at good price. Google recently posted development continues on the very same LG Sport, I can get Android 8 if I want to, i did not because it is early beta.
      Android Wear is not perfect but it is better in my own opinion than living without