Who needs Android Wear? Pebble app update brings actionable Android notifications and more


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The Pebble app for Android is receiving an update today in the Google Play Store (version 2.3) that, in conjunction with the latest Pebble smartwatch firmware update (version 2.9), gives the world’s most popular smartwatch the ability to interact with notifications similar to Android Wear. Only Android devices running Ice Cream Sandwich (4.0) or higher are supported, but according to Android’s latest numbers, that’s a good majority of currently active Android devices.

The best part is Pebble’s new actionable notifications actually offer something Android Wear smartwatches don’t: the ability to select customized canned responses. These are small phrases (up to 5) the user can customize and select without having to physically speak to their watch (not like the Pebble has a microphone anyway). Although voice recognition has improved greatly in recent years, it still has a way to go. There’s nothing more embarrassing than repeating the same phrase over and over to your watch while onlookers point and laugh.

Curious to see how Pebble’s actionable notifications compare to Android Wear’s? Our own Joe Fedewa put together a quick comparison video back when the update was still in beta. Check it out down below.

The update for the Android app also brings other notable improvements including auto-updating watch faces, support for most SMS messaging apps, and bug fixes relating to WhatsApp notifications. You can grab the update via the Google Play Store link below.

Chris Chavez
I've been obsessed with consumer technology for about as long as I can remember, be it video games, photography, or mobile devices. If you can plug it in, I have to own it. Preparing for the day when Android finally becomes self-aware and I get to welcome our new robot overlords.

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  1. “the ability to select canned responses”

    Hell yes. I’m not going to be talking to my Wear in front of people, I’ll look like a crazy person, so I have to always pull out my phone when a response gets complicated. I hope we can customize responses down the line.

    1. Haha, it’s funny that most people look kinda crazy when they talk to execute technology functions. It’s a perception that I hope dies out eventually since voice commands are pretty sweet.

      1. here is the thing, they don’t look so crazy when they work right. if we are sitting in the car and i just “ok google, navigate to walmart” and my phone simply replies “navigating to ‘walmart” and begins giving directions my friends reactions are “damn, thats sweet” but when I get “Sorry, could not find a ‘ball heart’ in your area” you look like a weirdo nerd who is trying too hard.

        It will become more socially accepted as the tech continues to improve.

        talking into a bluetooth headset in a public place like a supermarket where your hands are readily accessible will always be/look crazy. “who is that dude talking to? is he crazy? he’s having a full conversation with nobo….oh there is a bluetooth in his ear….” lol

        1. I’ll never forget how stupid I felt in early 2009 when I moved to Canada. I was not used to seeing people with the headsets at all and thought it was really strange that all those people needed hearing aides (didn’t really hear or see them making phone calls with them at first).

          When I did, though, I felt like the biggest idiot in the world. I only got a smartphone I’m mid-2012, though, so this was well before my love affair with Android and tech started.

  2. Um, check whatever Android Wear watch you have on hand again regarding those canned responses. Looking at my 360 right now I have several canned responses available when replying to a Hangout message (text or IM). No talking necessary.

    Edit: either the word “customized” wasn’t there before, or I read right past it. You are correct that you can’t yet customize the canned responses on Android Wear.

    1. You can, but it requires third party Wear apps to do so. However, I found the app I used – I don’t recall its name at the moment – was finicky at best and seemed to take away from the experience more than it added.

  3. “Who needs Android Wear?” Was that headline really posted above those pics?

    1. Dear Lord, this watch is so ugly.

      1. Ditto.

  4. Been running this in beta and it’s great. Even the simple things like dismissing an SMS once read from your wrist is pretty handy, and sending quick canned responses like emoticons from the Pebble is cool.

  5. The better question is “Who needs a smartwatch?”. They are nothing more than a gimmick that will NEVER truly catch on.

    1. Well we have to ask ourselves, what can things like Google glass and smart watches evolve into? They could lead to something truly amazing in the next several years.

      1. The Next Big Thing is already here with Galaxy Gear S. Only confirmed iDiots like you, don’t realize it…. yet! ;-P

        as it is now, I love seeing present smartwatch wearers showing us a preview of wall hugging, lost phone chasing, missed poor quality BT calls, that comes with every non-stand alone smartwatch phone today! haha…. EAT YOUR HEART OUT…. FOOL! …..millions already sold and that’s going to keep Apple’s lame watch as #2 in the wearables market for quite some time. Certainly even if they do actually start selling it, starting from scratch, when Samsung has been selling watchphones since 1999, means they won’t catch up even for a long time!!! lol….

        And actually the IBM WatchPad Apple stole the Digital Crown controls from was supposed to sell Millions when it launched too. What happened? It was offered in a closed market in 2001 and sales tanked. So the story will go with Apple watch, with a generic name so bad, they’ll be lucky to sell them to themselves and even know what it is or used for! haha…… Next Newton, Pippin, Apple TV, MacIntosh TV, iCloud and iTunes Radio FAILURE is on it’s way!!! :DDD

        1. You again? what the hell did i even say that made you spur off this rant? i was PRAISING smart watches of all brands and types. i didn’t even mention the word apple! and now i get a notification that you’re following me on disqus . are you some kind of a stalker? lol

          1. lol…. No of course not. I’m your Greatest Fan! :D

    2. If you use your smartphone a lot, a smartwatch can stop you having to get it out of you pocket to check notifications, etc.

      With a Pebble I’ve found I am less distracted when dealing with other people vs just a smartwatch alone.

      1. True, but $200 (for a steel) to $350 (for some Android Wear watches) is a lot of money to spend to avoid taking your phone out of your pocket.

        1. Samsung Gear S 3G Wifi w/ GPS you can leave your phone at home, half way around the World. So you don’t have to even carry your clunky phone around where ever you go, even if you forget it going to the store or on a flight around the World! …..and with a Real GPS included with a huge curved screen that wraps around your wrist, there is no other smartwatch phone to compete with it right now!!!

  6. Well I must say it still needs a lot of work. Because by time you do all that and find the right response or Emoji, I could have pulled out my phone and had a much better experience and sent a much better response. :/

  7. Who needs Android Wear? Judging by sales figures, not many.

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