I’ve been living like a savage barbarian the past week and I don’t like it one bit. In fact, my life has been inconvenienced more times than not, it’s been filled with various frustrations, and from time to time certain tasks that were once simple have been much harder.
Next month will mark twelve months since the launch of Android Wear and I’ve worn either my LG G Watch or my Moto 360 every day since the Google I/O 2014 launch. I’ve spent the past week without my Android Wear powered Moto 360 smartwatch and I can’t wait to get home and get it fixed.
You see, while traveling to China to attend the OPPO R7 and R7 Plus launch event, my Moto 360 got snagged on a cramped bus aisle seat and was roughly ripped off of my wrist. The accompanying strap pin went flying off into the unknown and I was left without a wrist computer for the first time in nearly a year.
Smartwatches are not for everyone. They’re accessories. Just like how not everyone needs a smartphone case, not everyone needs to wear a bracelet, not everyone needs a traditional watch, and not everyone needs a smartwatch. But that doesn’t mean that each of those items do not serve a purpose in one way or another.
Smartwatches are all about convenience and how I personally use Android Wear reflects that as notifications, Google Now, and Smart Lock are my three main use cases.
Managing notifications on your wrist is a godsend if your pocket is constantly buzzing with updates and notifications from your smartphone. While it’s not generally a big deal to pull out your phone a few times a day, this can become quite annoying and repetitive if you’re an avid smartphone user. Having this simple, yet extremely powerful capability removed from your life just plain sucks. Glancing at your wrist for a second or two is much more convenient than pulling your smartphone out of your pocket and interacting with it for a longer period of time. Think about how many minutes a day you waste just pulling a phone out of your pocket. Also, sometimes you just can’t get into your pocket because your hands are full or you’re in a meeting and anything beyond a quick glance would be considered rude, it happens.
Next on the smartwatch added convenience factor is Smart Lock and trusted Bluetooth devices. Smart Lock for Android Lollipop allows you to conveniently unlock your smartphone if a trusted device is connected or you’re in a trusted location, etc. With Smart Lock enabled, you won’t have to constantly unlock your phone if one of the security criterias are met. I like to use my Moto 360 as my trusted Bluetooth device. If my Moto 360 is powered on, then it’s on my wrist and that means my smartphone won’t prompt me for a PIN, password, or pattern each and every time I go to use it. It’s extremely convenient and a time saver.
Do you know how annoying it is to get hundreds of notifications per day and have pull your phone out of your pocket and unlock it each and every time? Sure, queue the first world problems meme, but the struggle is real.
Google’s contextual service, Google Now, is the last on my list of hardships I’ve gone through the past week. Google Now is an extremely powerful tool, giving you just the information you need, when it’s convenient. In fact, I’d argue some of the most powerful and useful features of Google Now don’t shine until you’re traveling. Having your boarding pass show up on your wrist when you arrive at the airport, having hotel information pop up on your check-in date, showcasing local restaurants, or even just the temperature, all of these just pop up with very little effort on your part. I really missed those things the past week. Though, in my case, most of them wouldn’t have worked anyways, because Google Services in China are worthless thanks to the Great Firewall of China blocking the Googs, but I’ll leave that to a future article.
Even as I type this now in the Chicago O’Hare International Airport, I hear my Nexus 6 vibrating in my backpack as it’s charging with a power bank. I can’t look at my wrist to see what’s going on and it’s driving me mad.
There’s no doubt in my mind that smartwatches are going to take off in the next year or two. Wearable tech is still fairly new, but once you give it a try, the convenience factor will win you over and you won’t want to go back to your savage, phone checking life.
Do you use Android Wear or another smartwatch? If so, have you gone an extended time without it? Let me know in the comments.