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Android Wear smartwatches Q&A: your questions answered

Posted: , by Nick T.

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Android Wear smartwatches Q&A: your questions answered

Soon after getting our hands on the first Android Wear smartwatches, the LG G Watch, Samsung Gear Live, and Moto 360, we invited you to ask us anything related to them or to Google's smartwatch platform. Many of our readers took this opportunity and sent us their questions. Today, we give you our answers. Don't forget that if there's anything else you wish to know about Android Wear or any of the aforementioned wearables, you may check out our LG G Watch review and Samsung Gear Live review.

acrord32: really we need clock that likely are going to have to 2 years life cycle? I mean my tag heuer is almost 4 years old now and it's ok, but how a smarthwath is going to withstand the test of time?

Do we need smartwatches? Most of us do not. Do we want smartwatches? Well, there sure are people out there who would not mind owning a smartwatch – geeks, tech enthusiasts, early adopters, that sort of folks. These guys would gladly spend several hundred bucks just to own the latest tech, and tech companies would be happy to sell it to them. As for the second part of your question, smartwatches aren't likely to withstand the test of time well. Buy a smartwatch today, and much better models will be out just a couple of years later. Assuming that people don't lose interest in them, of course. But that's also the case with smartphones, tablets, and most other gadgets. Also, let's not forget that electronics break rather easily, and we doubt that smartwatches would be an exception.

damokles: How is it connected to the smartphone? Bluetooth? Does it have an own SIM-card?

They use a special Bluetooth LE profile where LE stands for low energy. Currently, there aren't any Android Wear or Samsung Gear smartwatches with SIM card slots, but rumor has it that Samsung might be working on one.

sriramdescartes: Is it the right time to buy a smartwatch or should we wait??

Unless you want one really bad, perhaps waiting for the newer, better Android Wear models would be a good idea. The ones that are already on sale are okay, but the app selection and functionality leave plenty of room for expansion. If the smartwatch trend picks up pace, perhaps we'll have some great smartwatches and smartwatch apps in a year or so. 

teiva: What can the watch do when it is not within bluetooth range of the phone? Can it still record steps and track heart rate?

The LG G Watch and the Samsung Gear Live can still be used for some basic stuff even when they're outside of the phone's range. For example, you can set an alarm, start a timer, and run a few apps that are stored and executed locally, such as the Compass. Also, Google Fit keeps on counting your steps, and the Gear live you can still measure your heart rate without a connection to the phone. Basically, the smartwatches tell time and offer access to some simpler features.

RebelwithoutaClue: Will Google Translate be integrated as well, so I can use the watch as an universal translator?

With Android Wear, you can use Google Now straight from your smartwatch, and since Google Now can translate phrases for you, the answer to your question is yes. Here's a video of a pretty lady using her LG G Watch for that particular purpose.

hammertong: Most electronic watches are made in the Far East. Hence they all come with tiny wristbands. Will the smart watches be plagued by the same problem or will they actually make them for American wrists?

You may change the straps on some smartwatches, such as the LG G Watch, just like you would do with a classic watch.

AliNSiddiqui: Can the watch be turned on after being manually turned off without the use of a charger?

To turn an LG G Watch on, you either plug in the charging cradle and place the watch on it, or press the reset power on the back for 2 seconds using a pen or a paperclip. The Gear Live has its own power button, which is used for powering the gizmo on or off. The LG G Watch doesn't have a dedicated power key so you have to go to the Settings menu and shut it down from there. 

sojizy: Does Android wear support regular sms and hangout messages. What are the chances for support for things like BBM and Whatsapp
Drahos: Wll it be able to make the call or to anwer the incoming call? And what about reading or sending sms?

You may speak out your message and it will be converted into text for you. Then you may send it as an SMS or a Hangouts message. This will be possible with BBM and Whatsapp only if their developers build the functionality into their applications. As for calls, the current crop of Android Wear smartwatches let you pick up the call, but since they lack a proper speaker, you still have to talk on your actual phone. You may reject the call if you want to. Newer models may get an earpiece – this should allow us to make proper phone calls on them. On a related note, the Samsung Gear 2 lets you have an actual phone call on it, but it uses Samsung's own operating system, not Android Wear.

androiphone20: Google has been touting a lot about contextual awareness and I've been doing a lot of research on smartwatches as a whole so my question is, Can the watch tell when your phone is in your hand so it can stop sending pings? My second question is since I receive a lot of emails by the hundreds, can you stop it from buzzing on all the junk mail so it can focus on the important ones?

From the looks of it, the smartphone receives the notification first, but then quickly sends it over to the watch too. There's a mute option for apps, if you need it. You may also have your smartwatch alert you only when you get a new message in your priority inbox.

yashlg97: How to download the android wear app for my nexus 5? Can u provide me with the link as I've been looking for the app on the play store but have been unable to find it

The official Android Wear app is available at the Play Store.

XaErO: This will be too early to ask but - How much better battery life "Android Wear" brings compared to "Tizen" ?? any rough idea ??
garlic456: How is the battery life? My old Smartwatch MN2 had a battery life of 15 minutes, if the screen was on all the time.

Sadly, the two Android Wear smartwatches that we've reviewed so far, namely the LG G Watch and the Samsung Gear Live, need to be recharged daily. The Samsung Gear 2 could last several days between charges. Of course, your mileage will vary depending on your usage, and further software updates may take care of the short battery live of Android Wear smartwatches.

platformwars: Does the smart watch have any health and fitness benefits like the gear fit and other fitness bands?? Will the LG, Samsung or Motorola introduce any of the fitness features?

Android Wear comes with Google Fit, which is a health and wellness tracking feature. Sadly, it is still in its infancy. On the Samsung Gear Live, for example, we get the number of steps that we've taken during the day, but that's pretty much it. Samsung has also incorporated a heart rate monitor on this particular smartwatch, but other models, like the LG G Watch, lack a heart rate sensor. It will take time before Google Fit becomes a proper fitness tracking platform.

ldenningjr: Will android wear support multipoint? I would like to connect my work and personal phone with my moto 360
PowTheBowl: Can you run 2 smartwatches at a time with one Android phone?

The answer to both questions is no. In the Google Wear app, there's a "Pair with a new wearable" option, which allows the user to switch between smartwatches while using the same phone, but technically, there's no simultaneous connection at this time.

phljcnth: What installed apps come out of the box? Will it have a dedicated Play Store?

You can take a look at the list of apps for Android Wear at the dedicated Play Store section. Right now, there are only several dozens of them, but we hope to see their number grow steadily over time. When you download one of these on your phone, it will automatically add itself to a paired Android Wear smartwatch.

droidboy: Can the android wear watches... control music like the galaxy gear watches?

You may pick a song with a voice command. Then you may pause the song, or skip to the next or previous one from a screen on the smartwatch itself.

abhijithkumar.nit: How does the smartwatch handles notifications from a third party app if it's developer has not implemented any of the android wear functionality to the app notifications?

It pushes all notifications to the watch. For example, we were using the Shutterfly app to upload photos from a smartphone to the could. The app sent a notification as soon as each one was uploaded, so the watch also received that. We also get notifications from Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and less popular apps like Shutterfly.

  • Options

posted on 09 Jul 2014, 03:00

1. JakeLee (banned) (Posts: 1021; Member since: 02 Nov 2013)

There's an essential question missing : What is it good for?

posted on 09 Jul 2014, 08:00 1

4. sgodsell (Posts: 4863; Member since: 16 Mar 2013)

You could say the same thing about a smart phone. Granted smart phones are not needed. Just like a smart watch is not needed. But I can see the value add in them with out the need to get out your smart phone. Even Google stated that the average number of times a user pulls out his/her smart phone was 120 times a day. For me looking at the weather or stock I follow will be more convenient. The nice thing is when more apps come to the wear platform, the more convenient the watches will become as well. Time will tell.

posted on 11 Jul 2014, 04:09

9. Gadgety (Posts: 172; Member since: 03 Sep 2012)

From experience: #1. Hands free interaction. #2. Vibration alert silent calls which could otherwise go unnoticed. #3. Everything else.

At one time pocket tech was overtaken by arm wrist tech, and rendered quaint.

posted on 09 Jul 2014, 03:49 1

2. VJo003 (Posts: 360; Member since: 11 Mar 2012)

Are these watches water & dust proof?

posted on 09 Jul 2014, 07:51 3

3. sgodsell (Posts: 4863; Member since: 16 Mar 2013)

Yes, they are both ip67. So you can shower or take a bath with them on. Wash the dishes. Just don't go diving with them.

posted on 11 Jul 2014, 00:52

8. valapsp (Posts: 562; Member since: 12 Aug 2011)

they are water resistant not water proof.

posted on 09 Jul 2014, 12:16

5. RandomUsername (Posts: 808; Member since: 29 Oct 2013)

LOL "American wrists". Average wrist diameter 5 inches?

posted on 09 Jul 2014, 23:45

6. marcski07 (Posts: 600; Member since: 25 Apr 2014)

for the obese people

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