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Should you rush out and get an Android Wear device for your iPhone?
Android Wear for iOS Review – Great first step but it needs work
Today we’re going to quickly review Android Wear for iOS. With this app, you have the opportunity to pair your favourite LG or Moto smartwatch to your iPhone which as a general idea, is pretty awesome. We were pretty surprised at this development as the constant (and annoying) bickering between Apple and Google usually doesn’t lead to anything terribly useful (Apple maps anybody?). Were you guys surprised?
To pair your devices, all you have to do is download the Android Wear app and stumble through the entire pairing process. We’ve been using my Moto 360 for since the release of Android Wear for iOS and it generally works as a basic notification center but it leaves a lot to be desired and we wouldn’t recommend anybody to run out the door to get an Android Wear device for your iPhone just yet.
Now for our Android Wear for iOS Review, if we were to rank all the smartwatches that we’ve used right now for the iPhone, it would be Apple Watch at the top, followed by the Pebble Classic, Pebble Time and Android Wear. However, we believe that Android Wear will have more to offer in the future and eventually leap frog over Pebble’s products. This is a great first step and having choices as iOS users is always a good thing. We’ve done full reviews for the smartwatches mentioned above so click on the links if you need more info!
General functionality – Yep, its an Android watch!
Our Moto 360 functions the same way with an iPhone as it does with an Android phone. Dismissing and hiding notifications, getting to the settings and wrist gestures are still the same though the functionality of the watch isn’t close to the functionality you would get from a “natural” Android to Android pairing.
The one thing that we really enjoyed about Android Wear 1.3 were the interactive watch faces and those aren’t compatible with Android Wear for iOS. That feature really made the Moto 360 stand out when compared to the Pebble Time during out review for the Pebble Time.
Another example of the reduced functionality comes in the watch faces as you’re unable to use a custom wallpaper on your device. There are probably a few more quirks like this that we haven’t mentioned in our Android Wear for iOS Review let us know if there is something specific you want us to look at.
Apps – What Apps?
One of the biggest strengths of a smartwatch are the apps that you install to customize your experience. These apps do not exist in Android Wear for iOS (yet..we hope). You don’t have access to Google’s Play store which means you can’t customize what you see and do on the watch which basically means your Android Wear device is severely hamstrung in terms of functionality.
But really, why would Apple let users buy stuff off of Google’s Play store through an iPhone?
The Moto 360 comes with Motorola health bloatware which has no parent app on the iPhone so the data can’t be really used anywhere except on the watch. The same problem happens for Google Fit and vice versa for Apple Health. We were hoping that there might be connection between Android Wear for iOS and Google Fit but as you see in our video, the steps tracked through the Moto 360 do not show up on Google Fit.
Another example of the reduced app functionality can be found with Google Maps. Starting a trip on an Android device will usually kickoff directions on the watch but starting a trip on my iPhone in Google Maps results in nothing.
Notifications – At least those work
In terms of notifications, you get notifications for texts but you can’t open them on your iPhone though the tutorial says you can. Phone calls can be answered from he device but we were unable to carry on a conversation through the watch as the Moto 360 doesn’t come with a mic.
Unlike the Apple Watch, you can’t filter out which notifications so you have to manually create your notification preferences either through general settings or by manually blocking the app through the notifications.