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Android Wear Is Here 129

Posted by samzenpus
from the come-in-dick-tracy dept.
An anonymous reader writes with this breakdown and comparison of the first two Android Wear watches available today. The first two watches built on the Android Wear platform launch today. One is from LG, the G Watch, and the other is from its arch Korean peninsular rival, Samsung, the Gear Live. Should you buy one today? Maybe. It depends on how early you like to adopt. Let's take a quick trip through analysis lane. First, let's talk about Android Wear, because both watches run on the same platform, and both of them have more or less the same software. Android Wear really does two main things, it moves app notifications to the watch's face, and it puts Google Now's voice-powered search capabilities on your wrist. That's about it. But that's pretty powerful.
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Android Wear Is Here

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  • Call me (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Chrisq (894406) on Monday July 07, 2014 @10:32AM (#47399459)
    call me when a charge lasts a week or so. So long as I have to charge it every day I'l keep my solar powered radio synced watch which has told me the time for the last 5 years without having to touch it.
    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by gstoddart (321705)

      LOL, it's not meant to be used to tell you the time.

      It's for ... well, apparently it's for app notifications and Google search.

      Now you too can look dorky talking into your watch.

      There will be early adopters, there will be people who subsequently think "WTF did I buy this for again?", and there will probably be people who will tell their friends just how awesome it is.

      Me, I'm firmly in the "Meh, whatever" camp. But, apparently I'm not nearly as wedded to my phone as everybody else.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Charliemopps (1157495)

        The smart watches I've seen are coming bundled with phones now as part of a gimmick to get people to pay more. "Get the blah blah blah plan and a smart watch is included!" but in the fine print the watch requires its own subscription and raises your rate by more than the watch is worth. They do the same thing with the "Free tablet!" nonsense. They tell you that you only have to sign up for this program that costs an extra $10 a month and you get a free tablet... what a deal! but $10/month times 24 month con

        • but in the fine print the watch requires its own subscription and raises your rate by more than the watch is worth.

          Citation?

          The watch doesn't have a cellular radio, like some tablets do. It can't consume data directly.

          • but in the fine print the watch requires its own subscription and raises your rate by more than the watch is worth.

            Citation?

            The watch doesn't have a cellular radio, like some tablets do. It can't consume data directly.

            It doesn't have a cellular radio and neither do that tablets.
            The idea is, you wifi tether your table/watch to your phone.
            But, to get the deal, you need a larger data package because the tablet/watch will cause you to consume more data.
            Or at least, that's what they tell you. It clearly wont cause you to use more data, but they hit you with the deal at the checkout so you don't have time to really think about it.
            It's usually proposed like:
            *you go in to get a new phone and contract and are almost done with the

            • by exomondo (1725132)

              The idea is, you wifi tether your table/watch to your phone.
              But, to get the deal, you need a larger data package because the tablet/watch will cause you to consume more data.

              In the case of the watch it shouldn't cause you to consume more data because it doesn't do anything additional, it's just a way to indirectly control your phone.

      • But, apparently I'm not nearly as wedded to my phone as everybody else.

        I'm so not wedded to my phone that I'm browsing slashdot from my typewriter. Can we have a tech-person-rejecting-tech pissing contest?

        Personally, I only use a candlestick phone, lit buy the light of an oil lamp (using only the finest endangered whale oil). It's quite bulky to fit in my pocket to be honest but the main thing is that sometimes other people, dogs and etc trip over the lead when I'm using it in a mobile fashion.

        It doesn't te

        • by TWX (665546)

          Can we have a tech-person-rejecting-tech pissing contest?

          I tell the time with a stick.

          In all seriousness though, if you're salaried (so no punching a time clock), don't watch much television, and don't need to take scheduled mass-transit, then you probably don't need to know the time better than quarters of an hour, which can be guesstimated with decent precision based on the position of the sun.

          You know what I'd want a smart-watch to do? Be a waterproof cell phone transceiver with basic 'dumb phon

      • by snookiex (1814614)

        it's not meant to be used to tell you the time

        Then they shouldn't call them watches.

    • Why don't thy have wireless charging on these things? It wouldn't be so bad if I took off my watch, threw it on the dresser, and went to bed. Having to stop and fiddle with a charger for multiple devices is a bit of a no go IMO.

      • by Ziggitz (2637281)
        I agree. It seems like such a trivial thing but when you consider that its primary feature is basically not having to pull your phone out of your pocket it needs to not introduce any hassle whatsoever to make it worth it.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        Why don't thy have wireless charging on these things? It wouldn't be so bad if I took off my watch, threw it on the dresser, and went to bed.

        Since once the real ones come out instead of these "We don't really know what to do, but we've got to release something" pretenders, one of the features will be sleep monitoring, so you wouldn't even want that. An always-on display is almost out of the question.

        I think the best ones will look like an analog watch and forgo notification display.

      • by rsborg (111459)

        Why don't thy have wireless charging on these things? It wouldn't be so bad if I took off my watch, threw it on the dresser, and went to bed. Having to stop and fiddle with a charger for multiple devices is a bit of a no go IMO.

        Maybe because the wireless charger circuitry will make the watch larger and more unwieldy? Because free space on a wearable makes a smartphone's cramped interior look spacious?

        Personally, I'd rather more battery than wireless charging. I'm not going to carry my wireless charging dock/pad around with me and I can't imagine that a 2nd one at the office would be cheap. The Moto 360 supposed has wireless charging, but it does seem a bit ... heftier than a Pebble or even the LG one.

    • by Krojack (575051)

      I only need to change my Gear 2 every 4-5 days. I plug it in about 2 times a week while sitting at home on my computer doing work or playing games. It charges rather quick as well.

    • by msk (6205)

      Your response is mine as well. Bought my current Casio in 2009 and it's going strong.

      • Me to.
        I ware a:
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C... [wikipedia.org]

        which is super dorky looking and leads people to ask me about it. So I link them to:
        http://www.theguardian.com/wor... [theguardian.com]

        Yes, you can go to prison, without trial, for over 10 years, for possessing a $4 watch. It's important people know that.

        • by ganjadude (952775)

          Yes, you can go to prison, without trial, for over 10 years, for possessing a $4 watch

          was that the SOLE reason? or just a contributing factor?? did you know that ALL men and women in prison breathe air??

          • Yes, you can go to prison, without trial, for over 10 years, for possessing a $4 watch

            was that the SOLE reason? or just a contributing factor?? did you know that ALL men and women in prison breathe air??

            The circumstances of their original detention are often a mystery. Many of the Guantanamo detainees were captured by locals and literally sold to the US Military. In many cases they have testimony of the group that captured these guys, but many question if it was more of a local dispute and one sect was trying to get another detained... etc... So your question is hard to answer in that way.

            In 16 cases however, the only still existing physical evidence against those detainees is the watch that was found on t

    • by T.E.D. (34228)

      call me when a charge lasts a week or so.

      I can't speak for those two watches. However, I've found on my Pebble that if I use a fuzzy-time watchface (the display right now reads "almost one", and doesn't need to change except about every 4 minutes or so), I only lose about 10% charge a day. That means, yes I only need to charge it once a week. In fact, it could be a week and a half, but I'm not the kind of guy who likes to live dangerously.

    • by antdude (79039)

      And they can be standalone without a phone. I want it to replace my old school Casio Data Bank 150 watch!

    • by Eythian (552130)

      The battery in the Pebble lasts a week.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 07, 2014 @10:32AM (#47399461)

    ...instead of you reading them when you feel like, and they need ot be recharged every day. For $200. WOW!

  • I don't think this will pick up tbh, there is a little social experiment you can perform, in a crowd ask people who are wearing watches to put their hands up, you'll find its mostly the older people who wear watches. I haven't worn a watch (34) since I was 23.
    • by CastrTroy (595695)
      And of those who wear watches, 90% of them will probably be wearing them as jewelry. The time keeping functionality is secondary. Even among the younger people I know who wear them, it's mostly just a fashion accessory.
      • And all the ostensible features of the watch that are worth something beyond geek chick are at the full whimsy of Google. Will they support this five years down the road?

        Most people use their smartphones for watches these days, and the rest is usually for glitz or weaponry. Those values-- glitz and weaponry-- aren't dependent on vendor services from a vendor that tosses them away seemingly at will. Not gonna view a map on my wristwatch, so that's out. No phone calls. Movies are impossible. Browsing would be

      • I agree, as that was almost certainly me up until about a year ago. I wore a watch most of my adult life, and it became really useful when I became a pilot as time is absolutely key when you fly. So I had a nice watch that was functional in the cockpit and a nice piece of jewelry. However, as smart phones got more common and got more dependable, that went away. I started using my phone for time more than my watch because quite frankly I had a pretty good idea that my phone was accurate. While my watch also

        • by gstoddart (321705)

          Plus, I just LOVE the "flick the wrist to turn the light on" function. It means I can check the time in the dark even if I only have my watch-hand free.

          Hmmm ... define 'flick'?

          My Casio solar powered watch, when I hold my forearm horizontally and turn the wrist to where I'd be able to read it ... it turns on the light.

          If I hold my wrist in any other position, the light doesn't come on.

          It is a damned handy feature. Just look at your watch.

    • by Algae_94 (2017070)

      It strikes me along the same lines as new TV set offerings. TV manufacturers are trying everything to get that next big hardware push like they had when people were converting to HD flat screens. They've tried 3D, Some of them are trying curved screens, and 4K is the next thing they'll try.

      This strikes me as a similar last ditch effort to get their ecosystem out to more people and grab up a new segment of hardware. We went from Laptops to Smartphones first, then tablets, and now they're going to try wear

  • by xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) on Monday July 07, 2014 @10:39AM (#47399491)

    >> Maybe. It depends on how early you like to adopt. That's about it. But that's pretty powerful.

    Your writing style. Is the suck.

  • Why the Displays? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by NoZart (961808) on Monday July 07, 2014 @10:42AM (#47399511)

    Why the hell are they so fixated on using Displays? Give it an e-paper face and be done with it - you get "always on" and better battery live. And even monochrome displays can be made to look beautiful

    • Not to mention you'll be able to tell the time when you're outside with eInk...

      My dream smartphone has an eInk display too, but alas, that's not the way things are going right now...

    • by DNS-and-BIND (461968) on Monday July 07, 2014 @12:03PM (#47400199) Homepage
      Because the pretentious twat reviewer types will savagely treat any monochrome product. Moreover the trendy hipster crowd would never use anything not in full color. It would be a sales disaster. Practical? Who the hell ever got invited to parties for being practical?
      • by Anonymous Coward

        i am waiting for a mechanical automatic version.... or perhaps a steamworks version

      • by Ardyvee (2447206)

        Sadly, that last sentence defines a huge part of our social interactions.

    • Does E-ink support touch?

      If not, that's the only reason I can think of e-ink not being used. I assume essentially all android apps require touch support.

      Fire TV has a mechanism to simulate touch with its remote. Something like that could be used, but it was pretty awkward the few times I used it.

    • I remember people said the same about smartphones. Waah, the battery only lasts a day, I'll never use one of those. Somehow smartphones still took over the world. People do go to sleep every night - a nice cordless charging stand seems like a relatively small issue if the devices are genuinely useful.

      • by AuMatar (183847) on Monday July 07, 2014 @12:13PM (#47400257)

        But the smartphone allowed people to do things they couldn't already do. The smartwatch allows them to.... not take their smartphone out of their pocket. That's it, its a subset of all the functionality of their phone, and it doesn't do most of them that well. There's nothing compelling about them.

        • the tablet allows them to ... not open their laptop? that's it. subset of the functionality of their laptop, and it doesn't do [the functionality] well since it has a smaller screen and a slower processor. there's nothing compelling about them.

          • the tablet allows them to ... not open their laptop?

            Yes, because it's a lot easier to bring a tablet with you than a laptop. So you may well have a tablet around when there is no laptop to open.

            The same is not true of any modern smart watch, which by design only really does much when a smart-phone is in your pocket.

            • but it's not easier to bring a tablet and a laptop than to just bring a laptop, right? and since a laptop does everything a tablet does (faster and on a bigger screen), why in earth would anyone ever need a tablet?

              which by design only really does much when a smart-phone is in your pocket

              i'm in BT range of my phone 99% of the day, and i think that's pretty typical.

              • but it's not easier to bring a tablet and a laptop than to just bring a laptop, right?

                No, but it is easier to bring just a laptop than a tablet. Any USB source charges it. You can carry it more easily, and use it in more places.

                since a laptop does everything a tablet does

                Not actually true (touch interface far better for things like drawing) but let's pretend it is.

                A laptop may be able to do everything a tablet does but if the tablet is far lighter and has better batter life guess which most people would

      • by mark-t (151149)
        Not everyone takes their watch off at night. I don't. It comes off my wrist for what is probably about 30 to 40 minutes or so cumulatively a week, which is about how much time I spend in the shower.
        • by cbhacking (979169)

          Leaving aside the part of my brain that is trying to figure out whether you consider only a few showers a week acceptable or are just really fast about them, I've never understood the point of non-waterproof watches. The extra cost is trivial these days, and you don't have to worry about them in the rain, or the shower, or washing your hands, or swimming, or cooking, or... you get the idea. Granted, not everybody needs a watch good to 50m - I'm a SCUBA diver, but I have a dive computer so the watch is somew

          • by rsborg (111459)

            Leaving aside the part of my brain that is trying to figure out whether you consider only a few showers a week acceptable or are just really fast about them

            If you're male and have the expected short hair, showers shouldn't take more than 5 min each (x7 = 35m), perhaps another 5 if you shave in the shower. Or are you from the Lester Burnham [1] school of showering? Regardless, still shouldn't take more than 1-2 min more.

            [1] http://www.imdb.com/title/tt01... [imdb.com]

          • by mark-t (151149)

            I'm unsure why the part of your brain that figures I shower infrequently (evidently deduced from the weekly total that I cited) can't figure out that I usually only spend 4 or 5 minutes to take a shower in the first place.

            I have a waterproof watch and it wouldn't be harmed by the shower, but if I wore it in the shower all the time, then I couldn't effectively wash my skin under the watchstrap. Since I don't tend to take my watch off otherwise, dead skin would build up underneath it, and it would get rat

    • You only can achieve year-long battery lifes with devices that just show time and don't do much else. It would be utterly impossible with an Android smartwatch like this, unless great advancements happen in technology. But indeed the current 1 day-battery life of that thing is kind of crusty. Even the manually-winded mechanical watches have more runtime. And to think about how the battery life drops even more over time as the battery ages (although modern Li-Pol batteries are increasingly better in this reg

  • by NotDrWho (3543773) on Monday July 07, 2014 @10:44AM (#47399529)

    Are these water-resistant? I wash my hands a lot and would hate to throw $200 away on a watch that's going to die a quick death when exposed to a little water.

  • Moto 360 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by WaffleMonster (969671) on Monday July 07, 2014 @10:48AM (#47399567)

    Being square was like so 60's. I want round watches which don't resemble 80's Timex wrist calculators.

  • Here. Android is where? Here! Where's here? Exactly!
  • by gauauu (649169) on Monday July 07, 2014 @11:01AM (#47399701)

    Here we go again. Let's just skip ahead to the arguments made every time there's a story about smart watches. Please note that the exclamation point at the end of each argument is the indicator that THIS argument is right, and everyone else is a moron.

    1. Nobody wears watches anymore, they are just jewelry!
      1a. These are too cheap and ugly to count as jewelry. I only wear a $180000 dollar watch to show off how awesome I am!
      1b. I wear a watch, because I hate pulling my cell phone out of my pocket!

    2. These are dumb, the charge doesn't last long enough to be useful.
      2a. My $5 watch from 1993 never needs to be charged!
      2b. My $180000 watch doesn't have a battery, it is wound by a servant that comes into my room every night to care for the watch!

    3. They aren't rugged/waterproof enough!
      3a. Neither is your $1800000 jewelry watch!
      3b. I don't care what happens to my $5 watch, but it keeps on working, what about these?
      3c. I regularly go scuba diving, parachuting, race car driving, and enjoying fine wine on my yacht. That's when I'm not busy having great sex twice a day. This watch won't work for me!

    4. I don't want to be MORE plugged in! What happened to just getting away from all your notifications and enjoying life?

    Ok, now that we've gotten those out of the way, is there any NEW discussion about these things, or should we just move on?

    • by l3v1 (787564)
      Hehh :) while I agree, I can't easily place my version in the list, so here it goes: I'd like it to not be bigger than a regular watch, to have looks closer to some jewelry than some nerdy toy thingy (i.e., no plastic, not rectangular), to be waterproof (at least to the extent as regular waterproof watches are), and the battery to last at least 24 hours straight (normally don't need that much, but I'm also thinking about long flights, e.g. LHR-SIN-SYD).

      I don't even care if it's just a 'dumb' watch relayin
      • by gauauu (649169)

        Ah, your post reminds me that I forgot an argument:

        5. The pebble already does this!

        I'd like it to not be bigger than a regular watch, to have looks closer to some jewelry than some nerdy toy thingy (i.e., no plastic, not rectangular), to be waterproof (at least to the extent as regular waterproof watches are), and the battery to last at least 24 hours straight

        Ok, the pebble fails at your couple requirements (while it's not much bigger overall than a regular watch, the rectangular corners and whatnot make it more cumbersome. It always get caught in my long sleeves. And it's cheesy-looking), it is waterproof and the battery lasts almost a week.

    • My fundamental objection to these devices is that there isn't enough of a UI change to fit the form factor they're on.

      One of the reasons Windows Mobile was kinda lousy was because they tried to shrink a desktop OS down onto a phone (and now they're making the same weird mistake by scaling a mobile OS up to the desktop). Fundamentally, these are different things, so they need different ways to interact.

      These watches seem similar. A mobile OS that's been massaged a bit, but realistically makes more sense on y

    • by Darinbob (1142669)

      Why do people need to be notified that some status changed on their phone? Seriously I do not even see the need to pull the phone out of your pocket unless it is ringing. Are these watches essentially for Type-A personalities who feel they are so important that they must know whenever they get email?

  • Google play required to use android wear. No chance in hell.

    • You would want it to not be able to install applications from the best app store? That's a little odd. What's the story behind that?
      • by AuMatar (183847)

        If you want to run a custom rom for any reason (for example, privacy and securtiy) you can't run google play services.

        • WTF are you smoking? I've used phones with Cyanogenmod and custom ROM's etc for years and have no problems at all with the Play store.

  • by Jeff Flanagan (2981883) on Monday July 07, 2014 @11:15AM (#47399803)
    Why would anyone want to strap a watch to their wrist if it's not picking up heart rate, body temp, movement, etc... If it just has Android functionality, I already have a HTC One M8 that can do everything it does and more. I'll stick with my Basis smart watch until I can get the health tracking and the Android functionality in the same package.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by CanHasDIY (1672858)

      Why would anyone want to strap a watch to their wrist if it's not picking up heart rate, body temp, movement, etc...

      Because some people think digging in their pocket to find a phone just to tell them the time is stupid.

      That's my reasoning, anyway. Can't speak for anyone else, nor would I care to.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Because some people think digging in their pocket to find a phone just to tell them the time is stupid.

        That's my reasoning, anyway. Can't speak for anyone else, nor would I care to.

        How much shit do you have in your pockets? My phone in one pocket and wallet&keys in the other. Not exactly spelunking for treasure...

      • It's pretty easy to find my phone in my pocket, and the phone is only pocketed when on foot. Maybe you're thinking of a large purse rather than a pocket.
        • It's pretty easy to find my phone in my pocket, and the phone is only pocketed when on foot. Maybe you're thinking of a large purse rather than a pocket.

          I never said anything about difficulty. I said that some people find the practice of digging about in a pocket for a timepiece, when they could more easily keep one strapped to a wrist, to be stupid.

          Which is an absolute fact (that some people feel that way, not that it's necessarily a stupid action).

          My question is, why does it matter to you the reasons other people do things you don't? Don't try to say it doesn't, as it's plainly obvious you care at least enough to make a remark about it, then respond to so

    • Why would anyone want to strap a watch to their wrist if it's not picking up heart rate, body temp, movement, etc...

      I dunno? To tell the time?

      I can't seem any situations where I'd care about heard rate, body temp and etc enough to wear a monitor. I quite like my decent looking, solar charging, automatically set watch for everyday stuff and a cheap sports watch for sport things.

      The thing is there's about 7 billion people in the world and many of them own watches (even if only a Casio F-91W). I'm guessing th

      • >The idea that it's unimaginable to wear a watch without a heartrate monitor is quite entertaining though.

        Of course it's not unimaginable, but a smart watch should do more than the phone that it's paired with. The conversation has nothing to do with dumb watches. Glad your confusion entertained you though.
        • Of course it's not unimaginable, but a smart watch should do more than the phone that it's paired with.

          You mean apart from being smaller and wearable, rather than pocked carried? If so, why should it?

          I really don't see the use case for a smart watch that monitors heart rate and body temperature the entire time you're wearing it.

    • by Shados (741919)

      The Samsung one already does that. I dunno if it has has many features, but it has the heart rate monitor and movement meter at least.

      Future ones will most likely have all the bells and whistles. These are just early adopter models. They're mainly sold on the play store...hardly mass market.

  • you can now buy a watch every one to two years.

    C'mon. There are three broad categories of watch people these days:
    1. The "I have a phone, so why do I need a watch?" category. Most people under 30 are here.
    2. The "My watch is the measure of my style." category. They either view watches as cheap and disposable (watch as fashion statement), or expensive and long-lasting (watch as jewelry or mark of status). Who among these will buy a $100-$200 device that will be obsolete every couple of years?
    3. The "My watch

    • There are three broad categories of watch people these days: ...

      Consider a fourth category, though likely not as broad as what you have already listed. That would be athletes and fitness buffs who obsess over the statistics of our training activities. We regularly wear huge GPS enabled watches that track our activities and statistics. The more popular brands include Garmin devices and if you have ever had the "pleasure" of using anything designed by Garmin's UI team you can imagine how excited some of us are to have an alternative. A cell phone with a watch peripheral w

  • I'll wait for this.

  • ...I tried to get some useful tip on how to grow corn at home.

    It came up with - how to GET PORN at home.
  • wear is it?
  • The tech industry has been flirting with smart watches and the like for years now, despite nearly all of the market research showing that people generally aren't excited about it. At all. The whole reason people stopped wearing actual watches was because they started carrying phones with them, rendering the watch redundant. I think the industry knows it's bleeding itself dry with smartphones since they can't keep making them bigger (which is largely how they have kept prices up), and tablets have proven
    • by Shados (741919)

      When I was walking around with my Palm PDA, and later on, my Windows Mobile one, people were telling me the same thing.

      Then Apple came in, made very very incremental improvement (remember, at the time the iPhone wasn't that special, no app store and all... it had a better touch screen tech that everyone was starting to use around the same time, a better scrolling paradigm, a decent browser and the biggest thing, came with unlimited data plan, which has nothing to do with the device itself). The market was t

  • Charge it every day == no.
  • From TFA: "On the other hand, the Samsung watch is the clear winner on overall build quality."

    From reality: http://www.androidpolice.com/2... [androidpolice.com]

    That's right - it's been only 2 weeks or so since Google I/O and Samsung devices are ALREADY breaking with multiple reports of the same failure mode.

    In addition, there are frequent reports of display corruption that doesn't happen with the LG: https://plus.google.com/+Artem... [google.com]

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