With the introduction of the Android Wear 2.0, the consumer electronics industry appears to be getting better at finding a place for smartwatches. Tech firms are doing so by finally trying to make smartwatches a better watch instead of just an extension of your phone on your wrist.
Google’s Android Wear 2.0 operating system features a much simpler design than the early smartwatch, dispensing with its former poor navigation interface. The system allows you to more easily swipe between different faces as well as apps, and lets you swipe up to view notifications instead of notifications popping up and cluttering the face. It is currently available on LG’s Wear Sport and Wear Style smartwatch.
Overall, the software makes improvements that make it better at what smartwatches do well: handling communication while away from a phone, and fitness tracking. Google has introduced Smart Reply, which allows users to quickly answer texts with pre-written responses. The various fitness apps now work more reliably away from the phone due to independent GPS tracking.
These improvements signal that smartwatch makers may now understand what makes them viable products. Shoring up the usability of features like fitness and improving the display makes them better tools to the consumers who have already found a use for the watch, and improving user-friendliness never hurts either.
Now that there is a proven place for smartwatches in the gadget world, increased usability will hopefully pave the way for new, more widely-used applications. Android Wear 2.0 already allows for mobile pay on some devices, but increasing availability is a great next step. For more consumers to adopt these devices, smartwatch makers must find new uses for their products so they are worth more to more people.
Smartwatches entering new areas of the marketplace is an important step, as the sales of the devices have been less than stellar. Additionally, the Apple Watch currently dominates the smartwatch market, meaning competitors like LG must offer more features for less money, but retain a stylish interface like that of the Apple Watch
For more, visit The Verge’s review of Android Wear 2.0 and LG’s new smartwatches.