Google Wear Stories April 25, 2016

Albeit still not as popular as smartphones, smartwatches are indeed making their way to the market as gadgets with ever increased functionalities — like the recently announced CoWatch and its Amazon Alexa integration — but at the same time trying to appeal to classic timepiece customers as well.

Samsung is an OEM trying to please both audiences: according to The Korea Herald, Swiss watchmaker de Grisogono has confirmed to be working with the consumer electronics giant again in order to bring to the market a luxury version of the yet-to-be-announced Gear S3, supposedly coming next March…

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Google Wear Stories January 1, 2016

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2015 saw many announcements and developments within the Mountain View company. It was a big one. While we may not have seen as many of the flashy moonshot projects we’ve seen announced over the last few years, like Google Glass, Project Loon, Project Titan, and others, 2015 came with some big changes, upgrades, products, and services. From Google being completely restructured to be a new huge conglomerate called Alphabet to the recent launch of the company’s Nexus line, 2015 wasn’t a boring one for Google by any stretch of the imagination.

Here’s are some of Google’s most important announcements, in no particular order…

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Google Wear Stories November 18, 2015

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Human curation matters. We trust recommendations from friends and experts more than suggestions by the best computers. That’s why millions of people come to 9to5Google, 9to5Toys, and 9to5Mac each month to discover our product recommendations!

Product reviews are great if you know the exact product you want to buy, but they rarely cover all the best products in one place. That’s why Curate With Me is here — to connect you with curated lists of great products recommended by friends and experts.

Curate With Me helps you canvas categories of products, apps, and dining experiences that other people are recommending, combining the power of Reddit-style upvotes with Pinterest-like visuals. Lots of experts, including the 9to5Google team, are already creating Curate With Me guides. It’s a place where Android fans, beauty mavens, foodies, gamers, home decorators and everyone with product knowledge can come together to spotlight the best of everything!

Want a shot at winning this year’s best Google gift? Sign up for Curate With Me at this link and contribute ideas to our 2015 Top Holiday Google Gift Guide. After one week, the person who contributed the most upvoted item in the Guide will get to pick one or more items from the list (worth up to $200), courtesy of Curate With Me! So get curating right away to maximize your votes! More details are below…. (Update: Congrats, Eli M!)

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Google Wear Stories October 7, 2015

BLOCKS - The World's First Modular Smartwatch - YouTube 2015-10-07 15-43-14

Four months ago, the team behind the BLOCKS smartwatch — a device not all too different from Google’s Project Ara smartphone in principle — said that it would begin crowdfunding in the “summer”. While the company may have missed that deadline by a few weeks, it looks like it’s going to happen nonetheless. The device is set to finally hit Kickstarter on October 13th… expand full story

Google Wear Stories August 7, 2015

Microsoft Translator is a beautified Google Translate with Android Wear support

Real world, on-the-fly language translation has always been a little gimmicky if only because it still doesn’t quite hit the mark in terms of accuracy. Human spoken languages are a lot different from computer code in that words can have many meanings based on the context of the other words surrounding them. But that hasn’t stopped Microsoft from releasing its own translation app for Android called Microsoft Translator.

As you can see from the images above, the app is pretty simple. You speak or type in some words you want to translate, then choose the language you want to translate them into. You can save the translated result for later by pinning it, and then come back to it when you really need it — say, if you’re hitting a vacation town for the evening and need some common phrases to help you get around.

Unlike Google Translate, Microsoft Translator has a companion app for Android Wear so you don’t have to pull out your phone to make a new translation or access your pinned translations. Google Now can do some short translations, but nothing very long from my experience. Where Google Translate may lack, however, it makes up in a conversation mode which requires less tapping of the microphone to translate the voices of two people having a conversation — something Microsoft’s solution does not do.

Microsoft Translator, the underlying translation technology powering the app, supports just over 50 languages (yes, including Klingon), and Microsoft periodically adds new languages. The company says that the most important data its translation tools need to accurately translate languages on-the-fly is a lot of existing translations — 1 million translations of the same text into two languages, approximately.

Clearly, though, the new Wear app in particular is an experiment for Microsoft. From their blog post on the launch:

Wearables are a fascinating place to understand user experiences for translation. No other type of device allows people to interact with so little physical intrusion from the device itself— PC’s, tablets, and even phones can be occasionally awkward and unnatural in the middle of a conversation. With these smart devices, we want to learn how people use the apps and how effective the translation experiences can be. By integrating translation capabilities into devices that are instantly on hand (pun intended), we hope to continue to break down the last barrier in human communication— language.

Google Wear Stories July 7, 2015

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You know what I haven’t once thought since purchasing my ASUS ZenWatch? “Man, I wish this thing had a software keyboard!” Nope, not even once. But someone clearly has, as the developers behind the 5-TILES keyboard for Android smartphones have brought their signature tile-based keyboard to Android Wear users in the form of a messaging app, called Wear 5-TILES.

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Google Wear Stories June 29, 2015

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Owners of Android Wear watches: Does your device, without your intention, regularly go to menu for choosing a watch face? Maybe you’re crossing your arms and you feel a buzz thinking it might be alerting you to a new text message only to see your watch on that darned menu again? I don’t have a real fix for you, but there’s something you might want to try that may alleviate your frustration.

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According to a report from Korea Times, LG Chem, the largest chemical company in South Korea, has begun shipping a new hexagonal battery to top-tier smartwatch makers. The new battery, which sports a design that allows it to cover more surface area — specifically within circular smartwatches — reportedly improves battery capacity as much as 25% compared to traditional rectangular batteries… expand full story

Google Wear Stories June 24, 2015

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Spotted by a Redditor in /r/AndroidWear, we’ve learned that a recent update that we reported on to Google Play Music brought with it a nice new feature for owners of Android Wear smartwatches…

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Google Wear Stories June 4, 2015

Motorola says performance ‘not quite there’ for Moto 360 Android Wear 5.1.1 update

While many Android Wear devices—including my own LG G Watch R—have already gotten the latest Android Wear update, the Moto 360 is lagging behind. Motorola has come out to say that it’s “working with Google to ensure the software works great on Moto 360,” and that “Performance is not quite there yet.”

And while this still leaves things kind of open-ended, we should be seeing the update hit sometime over the next couple of weeks. Google said in April that the update would begin rolling out after a “few weeks” and we’re going on two months since that initial announcement. It looks like Motorola has just hit a little bit of a snag along the way.

We’ll keep you updated as the update rolls out (hopefully soon), and be sure to check out our roundup of OTA download links if you need to manually update your G Watch, G Watch R, or Asus ZenWatch.

Google Wear Stories May 28, 2015

Spotify unveils its app for Android Wear

 

Spotify users, rejoice. Starting with a gradual rollout next month, the popular music streaming app will be available on Android Wear watches.

According to the company’s blog post, you’ll be able to navigate through and select something to play from all the music you’ve saved to Your Music as well as find new stuff in Browse. We don’t have much information on the Wear app yet as it hasn’t been released and the image above is the only one Spotify provided, but we’ll post more as soon as we get it.

As a big Spotify fan and power user I’m curious to see what the Browse section will look like on such a small screen, as Browse on smartphones contains sections for mood-based playlists, new releases, top charts, and more. Are you excited to get Spotify on your Wear watch?

Google Wear Stories May 19, 2015

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Rumors that Google has big plans for virtual reality seem to be gathering pace. After yesterday learning that the lead designer of Google Search is now heading up Google Cardboard, another engineer believed to be working on the projected has hinted at an announcement at Google I/O …  expand full story

Google Wear Stories May 16, 2015

Android Wear watches receive basic Google Play Music browsing

 

For owners of a limited set of Android Wear watches running Android 5.1.1 (namely the LG Watch Urbane and ASUS ZenWatch), Google Play Music has today become a little more useful. The cloud music service from Google just received an update which allows users to navigate to music from their watch through three pre-existing features: “Listen Now,” “Recent Playlists,” and “Radio.”

Google Wear Stories May 13, 2015

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Google cares about your health and wants to help you stay in shape, which is why the company today released a set of updates and new features for the Google Fit platform across Android smartphones and Wear watches that make it easier to track your daily progress and fitness goals…

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Google Wear Stories May 6, 2015

Google has today released an open source exercise “game sample” to GitHub which utilizes a handful of Android technologies to demonstrate to developers how they can create fun games using Google Fit and Android Wear.

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Google Wear Stories April 29, 2015

Poll results A poll last weekend on the Android Wear Google+ community asked the following question: “How many apps do you have installed on your watch?” Nearly 700 members responded, and the results took me a bit by surprise.

The headline result was that 77% of respondents—more than 3 out of every 4—have fewer than ten apps installed on their watches. Additionally, the next tier—between ten and twenty apps—contained another 14% of the total, meaning that over 90% of respondents have fewer than 20 apps installed.

In reality, app usage in the Android Wear ecosystem as a whole is probably even lower. This poll was taken among members of an Android Wear community, remember: these are folks who have self-selected as Wear enthusiasts, at least to some degree… expand full story

Google Wear Stories April 27, 2015

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Samsung made a very bold attempt at entering the now-somewhat-established smartwatch space—long before the current market leaders—with the launch of their Galaxy Gear devices, but none of these wearables ever made very much of an impact. And since these devices came several months before Android Wear even existed, they ran Samsung’s proprietary Tizen operating system, which many users have agreed is notoriously clunky and unintuitive.

Now, a developer on the XDA-Developers forum has started work on porting Android Wear to the Galaxy Gear 2, and it looks like the OS is already partially functional… expand full story

Google Wear Stories April 23, 2015

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Google has announced today that its Keep note-taking app has now received full Android Wear support, letting you view your check lists, photos, and notes straight from your wrist… expand full story

Over the past couple of weeks, much virtual ink has been spilled over the Apple Watch’s first-day pre-order sales. If you missed it, the upshot is that an iOS analytics firm released an estimate that over one million Apple Watches were ordered on that first day, and as we told you, this represents more device sales than Android Wear had in all of 2014.

While many good reasons can be given for this disparity, ranging from Apple’s marketing budget to its reality-distortion field, there are a couple of key aspects to this situation that haven’t often been mentioned… expand full story

Google Wear Stories March 19, 2015

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While Android Wear has not yet set the world alight, Google is not sitting idly by while Apple grabs all the media attention with its Apple Watch. The company has announced a deal with Tag Heuer and Intel to create a smartwatch version of one of the watchmaker’s best-selling models, the Carrera.

TAG Heuer, Google and Intel have announced a partnership to launch a Swiss smartwatch powered by Intel technology and Android Wear. The effort signifies a new era of collaboration between Swiss watchmakers and Silicon Valley, bringing together each company’s respective expertise in luxury watchmaking, software and hardware.

While the company did not go into details, Reuters reports that the watch “will be a digital replica of the original Tag Heuer black Carrera, known for its bulky, sporty allure, and will look like the original.”

Sincere or not, Tag Heuer CEO Jean-Claude Biver says that he welcomes the launch of the Apple Watch …  expand full story

Google Wear Stories March 2, 2015

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As was expected (thanks to an advertisement spotted in the Barcelona Airport), Huawei came out this year at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain to announce its first entry into the Android Wear race: the Huawei Watch.

A first impression of the device might quickly lead you to believe that this is one of the most—if not the most—attractive Android Wear devices to launch, and based on what Huawei’s shown us, this thing might just be worthy of such a judgment…

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Google Wear Stories January 16, 2015

HYUNDAI EXPLORES WEARABLE TECHNOLOGY WITH ALL-NEW GENESIS

A little more than a year ago, Hyundai told the world that it was working on a Google Glass counterpart for its Blue Link platform. The app was supposed to launch with the 2015 Hyundai Genesis, but the car’s first availability came and went without any mention of Google’s head-worn computer. And while Hyundai did recently announce that it plans to release an app compatible with Android Wear devices very soon, it’s now official that the company’s Google Glass app won’t likely be getting the same treatment.

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Google Wear Stories January 2, 2015

Hyundai Blue Link Smartwatch App

Hyundai has announced today that it’s working on an Android Wear app, marking another advancement in the next-generation of the company’s Blue Link system for monitoring and controlling your car remotely. The company says the the Blue Link Android app will be updated with Android Wear support at some point in “early 2015” and that it will be showcasing the app at its CES booth on January 5th.

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Google Wear Stories January 1, 2015

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It has been a pretty exciting year for Google in a lot of ways. Android Wear has started to ignite excitement behind the future of wearable technology, the best version of Android ever—dubbed Lollipop—was released, a couple of brand new Nexus devices (one of which we leaked) came to fruition, and the Mountain View corporation’s new Material Design language has taken the Play Store by storm. Everything that was already great was made better in 2014, and the company has been sprinkling a bunch of exciting innovations in along the way to keep things interesting—like the self-driving car, for example.

In 2015, Google is probably going to do much the same. Android “M” (milkshake, maybe?) will likely be unveiled at Google I/O this upcoming summer, we’ll probably see a round of new Nexus hardware come later in the year, Google will likely keep pushing Chromebooks in the affordable segment of the PC market, and Android Wear devices from countless manufacturers will continue to get thinner and have better and better battery life. But Google surely has some drastic innovation planned in a variety of areas, as well, with the potential return of Google Glass on the horizon and the second spiral of Project Ara to be unveiled in a couple of weeks.

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Google Wear Stories October 20, 2014

Microsoft’s pulse-tracking smartwatch rumored to land in time for holidays

According to Forbes, Microsoft will soon enter the wearable market with a competing smartwatch device. The report says the device will track heart rate for fitness, like other Android and Apple smartwatches.

Google Wear Stories September 26, 2014

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When the Moto 360 was released, it was very disappointing to find out that the steel band version would be launching at a later date. Unfortunately, we’re still without this mysterious steel version. Motorola has hyped the steel band version since the Moto 360’s announcement, but until its officially released your only option is to buy one that comes with a leather strap.

The gray and black Horween leather straps that come along with the Moto 360 are pretty good, but for myself, nothing is better than a nice steel band. The problem is, Motorola has somewhat of a proprietary design with the straps that ship with the Moto 360 and if you want to pickup an official steel band when it’s released, be ready to pay $79.99. Luckily, there’s one steel strap in the wild that just happens to fit it perfectly…

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Google Wear Stories September 8, 2014

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Tips and my own inbox confirm that Motorola is sending I/O attendees out their Moto 360 Smartwatches right now! Will they make it before Tim Cook and Co announce their own entry into the smartwatch field? I suppose it depends on which part of your FedEx carrier’s route you are on.

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