There are obvious risks attached (of receiving at least slightly biased and one-sided arguments) when asking a Google fan like me to comment about a Google product. So readers be warned!
When I started using Mac OSX, I complained to my friend Huguette that it’s not like Windows. She said, ‘Of course it’s not Windows, it’s Mac, and the philosophy is different.’ I guess that is the most important aspect of accepting a new device or an environment. You need to be open to what it is.
So what is Android Wear offering?
Let me pour water on your high expectations first. It’s not as smart as you might expect it to be. It’s a kind of extension of your phone screen, almost like an external screen to your laptop. Your laptop processes that data, and the external screen displays it. In this case, Android Wear does a bit more, but at the end of the day, your watch is useless without your phone.
Today my colleague Pep (bless him for offering £15 for it) was teasing me that this watch has no 3G, no wifi, no camera etc. In a way he is right. it certainly has no bells and whistles of its own. Yes it has nothing if you compare it with your phone, but you have to remember that it is not your phone, and it was not meant to replace your phone.
The main function of this watch is to notify you all the time without having to take your phone out and press the button to wake it up. Instead, it notifies you with a small buzz each time you receive an email, a text message or alerts you to a scheduled meeting.
If you are regular Google Now user, you will definitely like it. I figure 90% to 95% of the features in Android Wear are from Google Now. Buzz from Events, Weather, Transport, Travel, Location etc are all sourced from your Google Now profile. So the more you use your Google Now, the more it adapts to your lifestyle- from expected time to reach to work or alert that your flight is an hour and half late. As it happened to me the last Sunday morning. I was away for a weekend break and I woke up from my sleep receiving an alert about my flight being late without having to search for it. It saved me from wasting two precious hours at the airport and allowed me some more time in the lovely city of Prague.
Plus it can calculate steps you take everyday, monitor heartbeat (for Samsung Gear Live), send text messages, set reminders, start stopwatch etc. Also you can control a few apps in your phone directly- like playing music, youtube videos etc.
About my Samsung Gear Live
I am quite surprised with how light it is and its impressive built quality. It is plasticy- fair enough, but I guess, there’s a good reason for it. The material makes it light and inexpensive. Very bright and I think it is reasonably good looking. Let me remind you that it was my second choice. I was waiting for the Moto 360, which is not released yet and no date announced yet either. I could not wait to resist getting a Google Watch instead, so bought this one. I am certain I cannot keep my hands off the slick design and unique features whenever it finally arrives in the market.
The one pesky little thing about Samsung Gear Live is that you have to attach the cradle to charge the watch. So you will be carrying a mini usb cable and the cradle with you wherever you go. And their claims about the charge lasting for one whole day may be slightly exaggerated.
Is it for you?
I would say “no”. It’s a very early model of a gadget that can go a long way. Only a few apps are available at this point in Google Play.
But if you love Google and consider yourself an “early adopter”, then do give it a shot. Otherwise you may just not find it worth your money.