In my recent #SGGQA Podcast I bemoaned the amount of gestures on Wear watches which required me to swipe the screen. There’s a near permanent cross of fingerprint grease in the middle of any Wear watch face.
Google must have been listening to my show, as they’ve sneakily revealed new gesture and wrist action controls for the next Android Wear update.
The last update introduced a twisting action to help you scan through cards and notifications. This now extends to dropping the quick settings located at the top of the watch. The App menu can be accessed by “dropping” your wrist quickly while holding your arm in front of you.
The arm drop can also be used to slide through notification cards. A pivot up action can slide yo back out of a card, and a quick wrist shake takes you back to your home watch face, kinda like clearing out an etch-a-sketch.
These might sound like small improvements, but anything which prevents me from having to use both hands to control a device designed to simplify my interaction with notifications will be a welcome change.
The Gear S2 aims to blend in more, looking like a more traditional timepiece, and it’s the company’s first circular watch face. A 1.2″ screen with a 360×360 resolution, in an 11.4mm thin frame. The smaller screen means Samsung can also shave a little size off the battery and continue offering 2-3 days of use on a charge.
This will not be an Android Wear affair, powered by Samsung produced dual core CPU, it’s a Tizen OS watch designed specifically to pair with Samsung phones. NFC on board will tie directly into Samsung Pay for mobile payments.
Samsung has a number of partners on board supporting apps utilizing the new round display, and it will be interesting to see how current apps might eventually work with this smaller screen.
There will be two flavors of Gear S2, a BT and WiFi only model and the S2 3G which incorporates an “e-SIM” for voice and data services when not directly paired to a phone. Two color options will be available, silver and dark grey, and there will be different band options for those watch bodies.
We don’t have pricing info yet, but Samsung expects the Gear S2 to start shipping in October. You can read the full press release below.
The much teased Huawei Watch is official! Announced at IFA, this circular displayed fashion piece will be joining the Android Wear ranks soon, with pre-orders shipping September 17th.
We also have confirmation on styles, and pricing. A classic stainless steel body with a black leather strap will start at $349, moving to a steel bracelet will bump up the price to $399. The Black Steel body and bracelet will cost $499, and the rose gold watch will cost $699 and $799 with Alligator leather strap and rose gold bracelet respectively.
The tech on board seems like ballpark Android Wear. A 1.4″ AMOLED screen with a 400×400 resolution should look nice and crisp. The Snapdragon 400 CPU is well known, and with current software is a snappy performer on other watches. Plus, we’re happy to see WiFi and 4GB of storage listed as features.
How this all pairs with the 300mah battery for run time will be interesting to test as Huawei claims “up to two days” of battery life.
It’s a good looking timepiece. You can read Huawei’s full announcement below!
Sure Apple has their own watch, but if you’ve been eyeing the diversity of hardware in the Google ecosystem with envy, now you can use Android Wear without giving up your precious iPhone.
Starting today, any iPhone running iOS 8.2 or higher can install the Wear companion app through iTunes. Compatible with all current Wear watches, and you’ll have access to features like your notifications, fitness tracking, and “OK Google” voice search.
Arturo sent me some pics on Twitter of his work polishing up the LG G Watch R. The body is metal, but is covered in a black material. If you want a shiny look, LG sells the Urbane, or you can take matters into your own hands like Arturo did.
Taking finer and finer grades of sand paper to get down to the metal, and then finishing off the watch body with a dremel and some polishing compound, I think the completed project is looking really nice.
Just because we use geek gear like smartwatches, doesn’t mean we can’t dress them up a bit. I’m a big fan of products that help our gadgets blend into our individual style and fashion. The folks at Popov Leather in Canada helped us out with some hand stitched Horween leather watch bands to dress up our wearable gizmos. Let’s take a look!
The Zen Watch 2 will come in more color options, and have more straps available in plastic, leather, and metal. The front face will now be made out of Gorilla Glass 3, the build will be more durable with an IP67 rating, and a new magnetic charger will be included.