IFTTT has brought its Do Button to Android Wear, effectively turning Google’s smartwatches into customizable remote controls.
The Do Button app connects with various Internet services and lets you set up basic commands that can be executed with a button press. For instance, you can create a button to log your work hours in Google Sheets, block out the next hour as “busy” in Google Calendar, or toggle a Philips Hue connected light bulb. You can even have a button that calls your phone to get out of a bad conversation.
The most obvious benefit is for connected home products, especially those that don’t have their own Android Wear apps, or whose apps are more complicated than you might want. Garageio’s smart garage door opener, for example, doesn’t offer Android Wear support currently, but with Do you can rig up your own button to control the door from your wrist.
Apple Watch users needn’t feel left out; Do was one of the first apps to support Apple’s smartwatch when it launched in April. IFTTT also offers an Apple Watch version of Do Note, which lets users send voice notes to various cloud services, but so far this app hasn’t gotten the Android Wear treatment.
Why this matters: Do’s single-button commands are ideal for a smartwatch, where you generally want to spend as little time interacting with the device as possible. With a slew of new Android Wear watches on the way from Motorola, Huawei, and Asus, and recent software updates that make launching apps much easier, Do is arriving at just the right time.
Google has announced the launch of a new Street View App for Apple’s iOS platform and their own Android platform.
This new app is a standalone app from the Google Maps app, Street View has previously been available as part of the Maps app.
The new Street View app for iOS and Android will allow you to upload your own 360 degree panorama photos to the app to share with other people.
Today we are introducing the new Street View app for Android and iOS, which allows you for the first time, to tour immersive 360-degree imagery and instantly contribute your own — right to Google Maps. Find a great hiking trail, check out restaurant and hotel interiors, and snap and share your own photo spheres (360-degree panoramas) to Google Maps for others to explore and enjoy. All in one place.
You can download the Android version of the app here and the iOS version of the app here and you can find out more information about the new Street View app at the link below.
Samsung has teased a new tablet, the company has released some press photos of the device, the Samsung Galaxy View.
From what we can see from the photos, this new Samsung Galaxy View seems to be considerably larger than the current range of Samsung tablets.
We recently heard that Samsung gas a new 18.4 inch tablet in the works, there is the possibility that this new Galaxy View tablet is this large tablet that we heard about previously.
If this is the same device, then the Samsung Galaxy View will come with a 18.4 inch display with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels, the device will be powered by an octa core Samsung Exynos 7480 processor and will come with 2GB of RAM.
We also heard previously that the 18.4 inch Samsung tablet would feature 32GB of built in storage and a microSD card slot, the device is also said to come with a 2.1 megapixel front camera and an 8 megapixel rear camera. It will apparently come with Android 5.1 Lollipop and will feature a 5700 mAh battery.
Samsung will provide more information about their new Galaxy View tablet in October, as soon as we get some more information about the device, we will let you guys know.
I hate to say this, but Motorola just “disrupted” Android Wear. Rather than offer a fixed style of case for its new Moto 360 smartwatch, it announced that you could customize your own.
It was obvious Motorola would go this route. It popularized the idea of customizing your own smartphone with the Moto X, so naturally it’s offering the same for its smartwatch lineup. The result is such a large spectrum of choice that it’s almost too hard just to choose one.
When anybody asked me which Android Wear smartwatch to start with, I’d always point them to the first-generation Moto 360. However, after wearing one myself for a few weeks, I couldn’t continue with it on my wrist. The watch was too bulky for me to comfortably wear on a daily basis, and the black leather band it came with was, frankly, kind of ugly.
I imagine I’d feel differently over time with the new Moto 360. It comes in three sizes: A large men’s size at 46mm, a small men’s size at 42mm, and a women’s model also at 42mm, but with smaller lugs. I handled the rose gold women’s watch and was instantly enamored with it. I’ve been waiting for watch manufacturers to take into consideration a woman’s smaller wrist size, and Motorola listened. Not only is the watch itself as stylish and attractive as a watch you can pick up at Nordstrom’s or Macy’s, but the watchbands that Motorola offers seem to be styled after women’s contemporary fashion. Diane Von Furstenberg could totally try to incorporate these into her runway show—better the Moto 360 than the next Google Glass, anyway.
Unfortunately, I didn’t get to wear the Moto 360 to be able to comment on how comfortable it is. Most of the watches I had access to were tethered to security leashes. I do recall how soft the leather band felt on the women’s watch, however, since sweaty wrists are typically an issue with cheaper, thicker leather.
I was not too keen on the plasticky Moto 360 Sport, though, which Motorola offered a dummy of at the Lenovo event. It felt a bit hokey, though I’m not much of a sport band wearer in the first place.
It’s probably a good watch?
Motorola did a little work on the insides of the new Moto 360, too. It eschewed the OMAP processor in favor of a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400, though it kept the storage and RAM capacities the same as its predecessor. It was sort of weird to have the Moto 360 be the only Android Wear smartwatch with a different processor than its competitors, so good for Motorola for jumping on the bandwagon along with everyone else. Might as well level the playing field.
I can’t really comment on performance yet. Smartwatches are not like smartphones; I can’t get an inkling of what the interface is like just by toiling with it for a bit, especially if the device is in Android Wear’s demo mode. I need time to wear it out in the wild, have my phone bombard it with notifications, and take it on a trip with me. I believe that the true test of any smartwatch is whether or not it works while you’re running through an airport. The last time I used a Moto 360 was while walking through McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas, and it failed miserably. It didn’t understand a word I was saying and I got so frustrated, I tossed it in my bag and went back to my smartphone. I’m curious to see how this new Moto 360 fares in my airport test.
At the very least, Motorola bumped up the battery to 400mAh—at least in the larger model. The smaller 42mm models offer a 300mAh battery pack, which is about standard for most Android Wear watches these days. Motorola says the larger model should last up to two days with Ambient Mode off, but I’ll believe it when I see it. The bummer of the last Moto 360 was its shoddy battery life, and it’s going to take a bit to convince me that Motorola’s changed things this time around.
Customizing is fun
Even if you don’t buy Motorola’s second-generation Moto 360, it’s really fun to pretend tomake your own. All three watch sizes have their own bezel texture you can add on for an extra $20, which makes the Moto 360 look more watch-like and less like some techy thing. You can also add a metal chain link band for $50 more, and then choose a watch face so that it’s ready to use when it arrives.
The Motorola Moto 360 is ready and waiting for you to pre-order it for $300, if you’re interested. The starting price is a bit more than what Asus is asking for the ZenWatch 2, but you’re also opting for the round watch face instead.
Motorola has another hit on its hands here, slight pun intended, and it’s up against some really stylish competition. I’m happy to see that manufacturers have upped the ante on watch styles, though now it’ll be a challenge choosing which one to wear.
Samsung’s been pretty quiet on the wearables front, but for good reason. It was hunkered away in a South Korean bunker somewhere reimagining what its smartwatch should look like. The result is the Gear S2. It’s round, it rotates, and most importantly, it does not run Android Wear.
So, what’s the point? Should you even consider a smartwatch if it doesn’t run Google’s version of its wearable software? Yes, you should. Because although the current crop of smartwatches are much more stylish to wear, the Gear S2 at least offers a different watch experience. Google could actually learn a thing or two from Samsung here, though I never thought I’d ever be typing that sentence.
It’s round and manly
Samsung heard how you all cooed over the round Moto 360 at last year’s Google I/O keynote, so it rounded its own. The Gear S2 comes in two styles: a regular version with a sporty, integrated plastic band, and a classic version with a removable leather band. Unlike the other smartwatches I’ve seen in Berlin, these weren’t bands I’d consider wearing myself. Samsung made sure to mention how many band sizes are offered, but this is one time I was actually hoping to be pandered to. I am a woman, and I like when companies remember I exist. The Gear S2 is still too masculine for me, though at least it isn’t as huge as Samsung’s first-generation wearables.
Looks aside, the actual execution of the Gear S2 is impressive. It has a back and home button on the right side, which I’m okay with because Android Wear’s gestures are sometimes confusing to use. Second, the bezel around the Gear S2 actually rotates, so you can use that to scroll through the interface. It can seem a bit gimmicky at first, but I commend Samsung’s attempt to try something new here. Touching a screen is nice and easy, but it’s fun to have that physical feedback, too.
I found the classic variant of the Gear S2 to be the most comfortable of the two Samsung smartwatches. The leather band is flexible and feels like I would break it in over time. The regular plastic Gear S2 is too rigid and you can only buy proprietary watchbands to fit it.
Tizen is actually intuitive
I’m conflicted about Tizen OS. In the past I’ve been sort of reluctant about its existence alongside Android, as if Samsung was attempting to eclipse all the work Google had done and branch off on its own. That’s not the case here, however. Samsung actually made the Gear S2 compatible with any Android smartphone running KitKat and above. Not all of the notifications and Gear S2 features will work on every phone, but at the very least you have the choice to buy a Samsung smartwatch and keep your non-Samsung phone as your daily driver.
The Tizen watch interface is so much easier to get a hang of than Android Wear. Sure, Android Wear got easier to use after the update last April, but Tizen offers some fluidity that Google’s wearable interface doesn’t. The application launcher circles around the interface, so I can easily choose the app I want by rotating or tapping. When it launches, it’s live, and when I want to get out of it, I just hit the back button. I need this sort of tactile feedback in a wearable interface because that’s how I’m used to using my phone, and I like that Samsung translated it from its phones to its watch. Ease of use doesn’t necessarily mean minimalistic; it means it should be intuitive, which Tizen’s wearable OS is—surprisingly!
Tizen OS also offers some of the same goodies as Android Wear, including standalone Wi-Fi support, which doesn’t require a phone to configure, and widgets. By default, the Gear S2 displays six widgets on screen, though you can add up to 12. You can cycle through them on the Home screen of sorts with the scroll wheel or with your finger. Samsung also enabled standalone 3G support and NFC capabilities, so you can tell your mom you’re out on a run and then grab a Gatorade on your slow walk home.
I like it, but…
In a perfect world, I could have the functionality of the Gear S2 coupled with the style of Motorola or Asus’ new smartwatches. Samsung’s new smartwatches offer some nice-looking bands, but I’d probably pair them with my fiancé’s hipster-man wardrobe instead of my own. Not even a perfectly pressed women’s J.Crew shirt would go with the stainless steel style of the Gear S2. It just isn’t happening.
Regardless, there’s a lot to learn from Samsung here. The Tizen wearable interface is a breath of fresh air from all the other copycat Android Wear devices out there. Android Wear is boring to use, while Tizen is fun! I’m not worried about app availability, either, because Samsung is a big name in the industry and, frankly, Tizen had an Uber app before Android Wear.
While it’s not the most feminine smartwatch for a style conscious lady like myself, the Gear S2 is going to bring some real competition to the Android wearables scene. I’m curious to see how well it will pair with other smartphones, and how it performs out in the wild. At the very least, Samsung’s thrown a wrench into an otherwise static wearables scene.
It launched with its share of problems (primarily terrible battery life), but a few software updates quickly made the Moto 360 our favorite Android Wear watch of 2014. Now, Motorola’s back with a new Moto 360 that looks like a refined version of the original—“flat tire” display and all.
The new Moto 360 looks a lot like the first one, but a few new details stand out. First, where the band on the original awkwardly attached directly to the watch body, the new model has lugs. This immediately makes it appear more like a traditional watch. You’ll also notice the button has been shifted up from the 3 o’clock to the 2 o’clock position—a welcome feature we’re seeing on other new Android Wear watches.
Perhaps most surprising is that Motorola is offering three models, each with different color and band options. The large men’s size is 46mm, the same as the original Moto 360. There’s also a small men’s size at 42mm, and a women’s model that is also 42mm but features smaller, more streamlined lugs. You’ll be able to use the online Moto Maker to customize the look of your watch from among the multiple sizes, finishes, bezels, and bands. Prices will range from $299 to $429, depending on the options chosen.
Internally, the specs have been altered a bit. Gone is the OMAP processor in favor of a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400, though storage and RAM remain the same at 4GB and 512MB, respectively. The resolution has been increased to 360-by-330 on the large model and 360-by-325 on the smaller models. That’s a nice bump up from the 320-by-290 display of the original.
The battery in the large model is 400 mAh—fairly standard for new Android Wear watches of this size—which Motorola claims will last for a full day with Ambient Mode on, or two days with it off. The 42mm models have a 300mAh battery, which won’t last quite as long.
And yes, the display still has that little cutout on the bottom. This is required for Motorola to hide the display electronics while pushing the display right up to the very edge of the watch. With the original Moto 360, I found it far less annoying that I would have expected, but it’s still a shame that Motorola hasn’t found another solution.
Moto 360 Sport
Along with the new Moto 360, Motorola announced the Moto 360 Sport. This variant features a special “AnyLight hybrid display” that promises to offer great viewability in bright sunlight. It switches from front-lit reflective mode for outdoor viewing to traditional back-lit indoors. It doesn’t have the same lugs as the other models, but rather a sealed plastic sports band. It also features GPS to track your runs.
Motorola hasn’t given a release date or pricing for the Moto 360 Sport yet, but promises more details are coming soon.
Moto X Pure Edition hits the U.S.
A few weeks ago, when Motorola announced the new Moto X Style, Moto X Play, and Moto G, we let you know that the Play won’t come to the U.S. at all, and when the Style comes here it’ll be called the Pure Edition. Well, the Pure Edition begins preorders on Wednesday, September 2, with the phones shipping later in the month. Prices start at $399, and the phone should support all major U.S. carriers.
The Pure Edition is the third generation of Moto X, and features a huge 5.7-inch Quad HD display, Snapdragon 808 processor, 3GB of RAM, and 3000 mAh battery. Motorola claims its new 21MP camera is vastly improved over last year’s, and it has made the fast charging even faster.
It’s no secret that Android tablets haven’t exactly been flying off the shelves. While phones that run Google’s operating system dominate the marketplace, tablets have lagged behind Apple’s iPad in marketshare and mindshare. Outside of some inexpensive tablets practically given away by carriers, they just don’t sell in huge numbers.
Maybe Acer’s got the right idea in narrowly focusing on the hot gaming market. Outside of Nvidia’s Shield Tablet, Android tablets aren’t really marketed specifically at gamers.
The Predator 8 tablet will launch in November at $299, and for that price you get pretty good specs. The 8-inch tablet has an IPS display with a resolution of 1920×1200, an Intel Atom x7 processor, 2×2 MIMO Wi-Fi, and up to 64GB of storage.
Then there are all the extra technologies given excessive branding. It’s got a very precise touchscreen, which Acer calls “Precision Plus.” High color gamut? That’s “ColorBlast technology.” Four speakers with virtual surround? “Quadio.” Tactile feedback? “TacSense.” It’s as if Acer thinks we haven’t heard multiple speakers or felt rumble technology before.
Acer is proud of the device’s 8.7mm thickness and 350-gram weight, but that doesn’t sound special to me—the iPad Air 2, for example, is 6.1mm thick and the Galaxy Tab S2 is 5.6mm thick. Those are heavier because they’re 9.7-inch tablets, but the Shield Tablet is about 8 inches and weighs 390 grams (and it’s not especially lightweight).
The story behind the story: The real issue with an Android gaming tablet is that of all Android tablets: lack of proper app support. Too many Android tablet apps are poorly optimized phone ports. When Android does get a hot game made for tablets, likeHearthstone, it often comes months after the iPad version. Nvidia pushes the ability to stream PC games to the Shield as a way to counter this lack of truly tablet-optimized Android games, but Acer is going to have to go further to convince gamers that they wouldn’t be better off picking up an iPad.
Small wrists, rejoice! Asus announced that the Asus ZenWatch 2 will be available in two sizes when it arrives in the US next month to fit both ginormous wrists and dainty ones. The watch had been previously teased at Computex earlier this year, though Asus is now offering more details.
The ZenWatch 2 comes in two flavors: a “regular” version with a 1.63-inch AMOLED display and 400mAh battery, and a smaller version with a 1.45-inch display and 300mAh battery. Both watches feature the same Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor, 512MB of RAM, and 4GB of storage. They’re also both water resistant and offer Wi-Fi support, as well as fast charging capabilities. Asus says both watches can charge up to 50 percent in just 36 minutes.
Asus will separately offer a variety of watch straps, including a sportier-looking silicone band and a masculine-looking gunmetal one.You can pair each with one of the 50 different ZenWatch faces, three of which are widgets, or customize your own with the FaceDesigner app. The 18 varieties shown off earlier this year will make their way to the U.S.
Like its predecessor, the ZenWatch 2 is a stylish Android Wear watch that seems more fitted for the fashion-conscious male than anyone else. It’s nice that the company thought of smaller wrist sizes, but the watch hasn’t changed much aesthetically to appeal to a wider audience.
The regular-sized ZenWatch 2 will cost €170 ($190 USD), while the smaller one will go for €150 ($170). Both watches will be available in October in the US. We’ll have an in-depth hands-on with both devices up soon, so stay tuned.
Editor’s note: This article was updated to confirm that 18 varieties of the Asus ZenWatch 2 will be coming to the U.S. this year
We’ve seen a ton of Android Wear smartwatches hit the scene, but none have been as stylish or as accommodating as the Huawei Watch.
When we went hands-on with it in Barcelona earlier this year, it was one of the best looking Android Wear devices we had ever tried on—and frankly, it still is. Now, Huawei has announced that it’s finally ready to sell its watch, and has expanded the lineup to include a few new styles, and pricing that mirrors the Apple Watch’s.
A style for almost everyone
Thus far, it’s been pretty frustrating being an Android Wear-wearing woman. The available watches either completely overpower my tiny wrist with their size or hardly match anything I have in my closet. I don’t imagine I’ll have that issue with the Huawei Watch.
Huawei has announced six different watch styles for the Watch, starting at $350 and topping out at $800. But despite the variety, they’re all very much designed to match the style of what’s en vogue in the regular watch world.
The six models include: a black leather band, a stainless steel chain link band, or a stainless steel milanese loop band with a stainless steel watch; a black ion-plated band with a black ion-plated watch; and a brown leather band or a rose gold-plated chain link band with a rose gold-plated watch. All six of the watch models are customizable and each band can be easily removed with a built-in clasp, so there’s no need for watch tools.
Naturally, I loved the priciest watch of the bunch—I found the $800 rose-gold-on-rose-gold to be the most stylish. I loved the way it paired with my blazer, and it looks more professional and polished than, say, the rose gold LG Watch Urbane with its brown leather band. But I’d probably have to opt for the cheaper, black leather band with a stainless steel watch, as that’s the one that fits my budget.
And that’s the bummer of the Huawei Watch: I can’t justify the $800 expense for something I’d use as mere jewelry for less than two years. The pricier versions of the Huawei Watch are the nicest to look at, but they’re expensive enough to alienate some diehard Android users who want something fashionable but can’t easily afford it.
Pretty standard Android Wear
When I first heard the details of the Huawei Watch, I thought it sounded just like every other Android Wear watch out there. It runs on a 1.2GHz Snapdragon 400 processor and 512MB of RAM, comes with 4GB of storage so you can load up your own music on a run (or a brisk walk, because who wants to run with such an expensive accessory on their wrists), and features a 300mAh battery pack, which Huawei says comes with “patented battery saving technology” that will last you up to two days. I’m interested to see if the Huawei Watch can outlast the other Android Wear watches that have also promised us a longer battery life.
One of the best features of the Huawei Watch isn’t even a feature they’ve added themselves. Google announced iOS compatibility with its Android Wear devices earlier this week and the Huawei Watch is on the list (in fact, it’s the featured product). If your iPhone-using friend is running iOS 8.2 and up, they can pair it with one of Huawei’s six watch models to sync messages, notifications, and calendar events.
The Huawei Watch is so much more watch-looking than the Apple Watch. This might bode well for Huawei in the end, since Apple users are used to dropping gobs of money on product.
A Fashion Statement
Huawei wants Android Wear users to see the Huawei Watch as “a timeless piece…a fashion statement.” It’s succeeded. I wear the Urbane from time to time, but the Huawei Watch feels like something worth donning every day. The only bummer is that it’s not an expense that I can justify.
The first four Huawei Watch styles are all for pre-order today and will start shipping on September 17, while the rose-gold variants—which you might as well start saving up for now—will be available later this year.
The new Honor 7 smartphone went on sale in Europe last week and the company has announced that the handset sold out in one day.
Honor did not reveal any details on how many handsets they sold on the first day, the company has said that customers can still order the device and it will be delivered within two to three weeks.
The handset comes with an octa core Kirin 935 processor and 3GB of RAM, the handset features a 5.2 inch display that has a Full HD resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels.
For storage the handset comes with a choice of either 16GB or 64GB and there is also a 3100 mAh battery and dual cameras.
On the front of the handset there is an 8 megapixel camera for video calls, on the back of the device there is a 20 megapixel camera, the handset also feature Android 5.0 Lollipop and EMUI 3.1, plus a 3100 mAh battery. You can find out more details about the new Honor 7 smartphone at the link below.