01-Editorial-Android-Wear

For almost a month, a per­son­al iPhone 6 Plus lay aban­doned on a shelf, and an Android smart­phone took its place — this is a record. I have done sim­i­lar exper­i­ments before with a com­plete move to an alter­na­tive plat­form (for exam­ple, once and twice), but I had enough for a max­i­mum of a cou­ple of weeks. The rea­sons for such exper­i­ments are dif­fer­ent, and one of them for the last move was a smart watch based on Android Wear. I wrote about the capa­bil­i­ties of this plat­form and the most pop­u­lar device based on it in the Moto 360 review, and now I would like to talk about those pit­falls that review­ers are usu­al­ly silent about due to lit­tle expe­ri­ence with the device or for oth­er rea­sons.

Why seek adventure on your own head?

Read­ers have often seen in my arti­cles the phrase that “bet­ter iPhone can only be a new iPhone“I was and remain a fan of this smart­phone. The ques­tion aris­es — why then am I always look­ing for some alter­na­tives? You don’t have to look far for exam­ples, just remem­ber the recent sto­ries with Sony Xpe­ria Z Ultra, Huawei Medi­a­Pad X1 7 or Sam­sung Galaxy Tab S 8.4.

Well, it’s a rea­son­able ques­tion. The pur­pose of my first exper­i­ment with Android in 2010 was to study this plat­form, about which com­men­ta­tors said so many good things, and in gen­er­al — you need to know the ene­my in per­son. With the “ene­my” I exag­ger­ate, of course. In fact, I have always been and remain open to every­thing new, I man­aged to work close­ly with Sym­bian, with Win­dows Mobile, Win­dows CE and even with Mae­mo OS. It’s inter­est­ing to me, like the gad­gets them­selves. Gad­get­ma­nia is a ter­ri­ble but very fas­ci­nat­ing dis­ease.

02-Editorial-Android-Wear

So, the result of the first exper­i­ment was dis­ap­point­ment. Hard­ware Sam­sung Galaxy S, of course, was cool­er than the iPhone 3GS, but there were many ques­tions about the soft­ware com­po­nent. And then the iPhone 4 hap­pened, and the Galaxy S became unin­ter­est­ing, like the Android OS itself, which was far behind iOS in terms of usabil­i­ty at that moment.

Then appeared Galaxy S II — one of the most suc­cess­ful smart­phones in the entire line in terms of the total­i­ty of char­ac­ter­is­tics. I will not hide it, I was more inter­est­ed in the hard­ware com­po­nent than the soft­ware com­po­nent — a large Super AMOLED Plus dis­play with a full-fledged RGB pix­el scheme, min­i­mal thick­ness and weight, high per­for­mance. The toy pleased for a cou­ple of weeks (that’s how much I went with it as with the main smart­phone), until the Android jambs of those times began to annoy again. As a result, it was used rel­a­tive­ly active­ly for a cou­ple of months, after which it went to the shelf, and then found a new own­er

The first gen­er­a­tion Galaxy Note was a real break­through for its time, and Sam­sung itself did not expect such a suc­cess. I lit­er­al­ly fell in love with this device even at the time of its announce­ment for one sim­ple rea­son — even then I want­ed to have a full replace­ment for the tablet, which you can always car­ry with you.

03-Editorial-Android-Wear

I also dragged it for a cou­ple of weeks as the main smart­phone, but in the end I returned to iOS again and breathed a sigh of relief. After that, I always used the rest of the Android devices as sec­ondary gad­gets until I met the Moto 360.

The very idea of ​​a smart watch did not grab me right away and, for exam­ple, Peb­ble passed by because of its “rat­tle” look. Yes, and some­how embar­rassed push-but­ton con­trol, I want­ed a sen­sor, tech­nol­o­gy and a beau­ti­ful col­or dis­play. When the Moto 360 was announced, the inter­nal gad­get lover lit­er­al­ly screamed: “Here is it!

Active test­ing of the device also did not leave me indif­fer­ent, but there was no desire to put the main SIM card into the tablet. But in the end, all Android tablets were sold out, and bought in their place One Plus One. Of course, I want­ed Nexus 6, but the eco­nom­ic cri­sis that broke out affect­ed the “inter­nal toad” and it did not allow to splurge on such an expen­sive “toy”.

04-Editorial-Android-Wear

Thus, for the sake of being able to ful­ly use smart­watch­es, I com­plete­ly moved to Android, which at the moment is already good enough that it can real­ly replace iOS in most cas­es. For almost a month I have been active­ly work­ing with the Android Wear plat­form, the advan­tages and capa­bil­i­ties of which you all know, and if you don’t know, then read my review of Moto 360. But as for the nuances, they sur­faced only after such a long oper­at­ing expe­ri­ence, sup­ple­ment­ed by pre­vi­ous tests with oth­ers Android devices. I would like to talk about the nuances, since I have not seen any explic­it men­tion of them in the reviews, and ordi­nary users are unlike­ly to pick spe­cial­ized forums.

What Android Wear is silent about

05-Editorial-Android-Wear

In ads for smart­watch­es based on Android Wear, they show a lot of beau­ti­ful shots, they say, with them you can speak, set an alarm clock, make notes and cre­ate oth­er good­ies. Expe­ri­ence shows that voice con­trol leaves much to be desired. In a noisy place, the watch sim­ply does not rec­og­nize what you are try­ing to say to it, and in a qui­et place it is eas­i­er to get a smart­phone and do every­thing the old fash­ioned way. I made notes in Google Keep with my voice a cou­ple of times, found out the weath­er sev­er­al times and set an alarm once — that was the end of my voice expe­ri­ence with Android Wear, since it was all rather crooked­ly imple­ment­ed. It’s faster to get a smart­phone and do every­thing on it than to dic­tate some­thing to the clock with your voice. Oh, yes — do not for­get that for voice recog­ni­tion you need a good Inter­net con­nec­tion, at least a high-qual­i­ty 3G sig­nal. In Europe, it doesn’t smell like this yet, and even on the more or less fast Intert­ele­com chan­nel, the clock often thought for a long time when rec­og­niz­ing speech.

06-Editorial-Android-Wear

The sec­ond strange fea­ture Android Wear devices — they work dif­fer­ent­ly with dif­fer­ent smart­phones. For exam­ple, with the Nexus 6 and Galaxy Tab S 8.4, Motoro­la’s smart­watch­es most­ly func­tioned flaw­less­ly, although maybe I just did­n’t use them much with these gad­gets. In turn, with One­Plus One, they lost con­tact from time to time. That is, it says on the watch that every­thing is OK, there is a con­nec­tion, the smart­phone also had an inscrip­tion that Android Wear is con­nect­ed, but noti­fi­ca­tions on Moto 360 do not come. You turn them off, plug them in — no effect. Only restart­ing the clock helped.

The third fea­ture stems from the sec­ond — This is a loss of com­mu­ni­ca­tion with the smart­phone dur­ing some kind of manip­u­la­tion. That is, some­times this hap­pened on its own (usu­al­ly once every cou­ple of days), which I described above, some­times after cer­tain actions. This hap­pened to me most often when I delet­ed a let­ter through a smart watch. It hap­pened that the clock imme­di­ate­ly wrote, they say, there was some kind of error and after that the noti­fi­ca­tions did not reach them any­more. And it hap­pened that a green cir­cle with a check­mark appeared, they say, every­thing is OK, but the con­nec­tion between the watch and the smart­phone was imper­cep­ti­bly inter­rupt­ed. Because of these jokes, I missed calls and impor­tant mes­sages (the phone is usu­al­ly in the bag, and I was in a noisy atmos­phere, it was hard to hear some­thing, so I count­ed on the smart watch and its vibra­tion).

Fourth Fea­ture — strange oper­a­tion of the music play­er con­trol pan­el. Android-wear allows you to switch tracks, start and stop play­back, change the vol­ume. Some­times this remote con­trol start­ed to blunt — you switch the track, but noth­ing hap­pens. You press a cou­ple more times, and then the play­er jumps imme­di­ate­ly through a cou­ple of songs. It hap­pened that at such moments the remote con­trol began to go crazy and ran­dom­ly pause, start play­back, switch songs. Restart­ing the clock helped. For a month, the remote con­trol went crazy five times. Per­haps this glitch is con­nect­ed with the very loss of com­mu­ni­ca­tion between devices, which I wrote about above, but the remote con­trol still con­tin­ued to respond to my actions, that is, the con­nec­tion seems to be there, but it is strange.

In gen­er­al, only noti­fi­ca­tions and the abil­i­ty to respond to some of them are real­ly func­tion­al in Android Wear at the moment. Oh, yes, the dials are also cool and chang­ing them is a plea­sure. A bunch of appli­ca­tions, some toys and oth­er things for smart watch­es on Google Play are just tin­sel, unnec­es­sary and non-func­tion­al in real life.

07-Editorial-Android-Wear

Yes, noti­fi­ca­tions and the abil­i­ty to respond to them after hours are con­ve­nient, but in my case, the loss of con­nec­tion that occurred from time to time in con­junc­tion with One­Plus One was annoy­ing, although this did not hap­pen with the Nexus 6. Voice con­trol can sur­prise friends and acquain­tances, but it is unlike­ly that you will use it often — it is also just a toy.

Android Wear feels like it has a lot of poten­tial, but it also has a lot of left­overs. A cool idea that lacks a good file refine­ment. And this very file can be the Apple Watch.

Some peo­ple scold Apple, they say, there is no inno­va­tion. But if the com­pa­ny does with smart watch­es the same thing that it did with mul­ti­me­dia tablets — will bring this cat­e­go­ry of devices to mind and will inter­est devel­op­ers in the release of qual­i­ty appli­ca­tions, this will be a real inno­va­tion. If the Apple Watch will just work, real­ly per­form­ing the func­tions assigned to it with high qual­i­ty, as the iPhone does as a phone, PDA, play­er, Inter­net tablet, game con­sole, read­er and video play­er, if their inter­face is com­fort­able (which can­not be said about Android Wear), I am ready to pay both $500 and $1000 for them.

But the most impor­tant thing in this case is that if Apple suc­ceeds, then Google with Android Wear will fol­low it. Do you think the Android OS would be as beau­ti­ful, well-ani­mat­ed and func­tion­al now, would have so many good appli­ca­tions with­out a pow­er­ful com­peti­tor? It would­n’t be that close. Com­pe­ti­tion is one of the strongest engines of progress. The more inter­est­ing Apple Watch turns out to be, the more good­ies you will get in your Android Wear smart­watch in the future. For­tu­nate­ly, in terms of hard­ware, these devices are made with a big reserve for the future.

08-Editorial-Android-Wear

Share your expe­ri­ence with Android Wear in the com­ments, maybe I’m just exag­ger­at­ing? What if there are some mag­i­cal apps on Google Play, or am I miss­ing some­thing? By the way, I hope to test Peb­ble in the near future. Maybe they will be able to some­how bright­en up the expec­ta­tion of the Apple Watch, or they will be more inter­est­ing than Android Wear, who knows …