Well, whaddayaknow! A new post on this blog site!

It’s almost as if you’d think I don’t have enough time left to sit behind my computer and type a wall of text!?
TRUE!
It’s a symptom called ‘children’ that’s causing this lack of concentration for longer than 5 minutes.

Aaaaanyway, I got myself this very flashy new smartwatch for my birthday (every now and then a guy just has to buy himself something pretty. Isn’t that right, Hugh Heffner?).

Since I got myself a brand new LG Nexus 5 a couple of months ago, due to the Samsung Galaxy S3 no longer wanting to do what it was intended to do, the logical choice to stick with LG as a brand was made.
Also, the LG Watch R is one of the few round watches that have enough power AND look stylish at the same time.

lg-g-watch-r-1-1

Quite the fancy shizzle

I’m not gonna go on and on why this is the best watch ever and that it has greater processor power and RAM than my first PC that ran Windows 98, even though the part about the CPU and RAM are true.
No, I’m gonna talk about how to use your Android Wear (because that’s what this line of watches is called) in an optimal way so that it can actually be more than just eye-candy.

¬†Wall of text incoming…

What is Android Wear ?

The combined product of hard- and software that connects your wrist to your phone is called “Android Wear”.

An Android watch is to be considered an extension of your phone.
Some smartwatches have the ability to pair with iPhones, such as the excellent price-quality balanced Pebble Smartwatch, which is in my opinion the perfect smartwatch for beginners.
Android Wear, however has a strict yet limited set of rules; one being the unique use for Android Devices. Some of the Dual-OS watches¬†(i.e. compatible with the 2 most popular mobile operating systems, sorry Windows users…) also work with the Android Wear software on your phone, but usually come with their own piece of software for synchronisation purposes.

https://www.android.com/wear/ has a pretty website on what you get to do with Android Wear devices.
A summary :

  • online and offline music playback (usually through headphones)
  • GPS support (where applicable)
  • Weather updates
  • Commute
  • Create, edit and view your appointments
  • Check your flight data
  • Read and reply texts, emails etc.
  • Voice search
ANDROID_WEAR_GOOGLE

This beautiful picture was shamelessly stolen from http://www.vergelijkensmartwatch.nl/ who actually got it from a stock press kit :p

Apps

Being the lucky one and just recently having had an upgrade for my Nexus 5, so that it runs the new Android 5.0, I believe to have the full smartwatch experience (except for not having a camera on the watch – curse you Samsung Gear!). The out-of-box-experience as Microsoft likes to call their Windows first boot is already loaded with functionality.
A word of warning though : Android Wear (currently) has no support for the Dutch language, specifically for the voice commands, that is. As an Android user you might have expected this behaviour already, since the ‘OK, Google’ command doesn’t work on your Android phone when you set it to an unsupported voice input language (source). Supported languages are :

  • German
  • English (now supports all accents / dialects)
  • Spanish (Spain and Mexico only)
  • French
  • Italian
  • Portuguese (Brazilian only)
  • Russian
  • Korean
  • Japanese

Other than that, no issues there. My Nexus is set to Dutch, which enables me to Google Search in Dutch while still running an anglophonic watch.
I can only speak from my own experience, but I’m guessing all Android Wear have the same basic functionality.

The LG Watch R, specifically, comes with a lot of features, such as a docking station, a precharged battery for instant fun, and a well-documented manual in case you’re a complete Android newbie)

lg_g_watch_r_charger_usb

The magnetic docking station for the LG Watch R

Unlinked with your Android device, and having booted for the first time, your smartwatch is just a dumb watch, that only looks fancy because you can choose from a couple a watch faces and you have a built-in heart rate monitor.
The second you pair your watch after having installed Android Wear, the app onto your phone/tablet (it works best with a phone, though), the functionality starts pouring in.
Your watch will look for a Google-specific and brand-specific update and afterwards automatically synchronises with your Android device while looking for installed apps that support the watch as an extension.

  • The Google Fit app that came preinstalled with Android 5.0 instantly showed up and activated the heart rate monitor
  • Navigation functionality kicked in
  • Timers, tasks and agenda entries started to show up
  • A “Play music” option appeared (which can also be activated by saying “OK, Google… Play music”, by the way, and is one of my most-used functions while driving my company car)
  • The in-watch “Start” menu also gave me a list of compatible programs that were installed on my phone. Fit, Keep, Mytracks and (my favorite) Yatse.
    Yatse is a remote control software for your XBMC media center. Usually I control it with either a wireless keyboard or my phone.
    Now that the option to use my watch has appeared, life has become snobbish :-)
  • You can even upload music to your watch and use it as a standalone heart rate monitor while going jogging, in combination with a headset (usually a Bluetooth one)

Out of all this bliss and goodness, I found only two big flaws : an in-watch browser and a quick menu to run my apps without having to first tap the touch screen, scrolling the Google window up, scrolling all the way down to the “Start” button and only then being able to pick my favorite app.

One Google search later and this was no longer an issue.

  • WIB or Wear Internet Browser came out on top of the Google Play results and does exactly what you expect it to do : browse a website on your watch, without interaction from your phone (except the Bluetooth connection, of course)
  • Wear Mini Launcher is in a completely different league. This app should come preloaded with every Android Wear device!
    What it does is simple, and at least as effective. You simply make a slide movement from outside your screen from the left to the right and a menu appears, showing your installed apps and custom shortcuts in a tiny scrollable layout. Brilliant !
The 'brilliant' guy from The Fast Show

Brilliant ! Isn’t that amazing !

That’s it for now on Android smartwatches.
If you have any cool Android Wear tips or comments, leave them below in the comment section and I’ll approve them.
Disclaimer by Disclaimerking.com –> I’m not responsible for typos here. My Palm Dobbel beer is :)

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