Which Android to Wear?

  • AFP
  • Updated: Jun 28, 2014 14:17 IST

The first two smartwatches that use Google's clever wearable tech operating system are already up for order, and will be coming to a wrist near you in July. But should you plump for the LG G Watch or the Samsung Gear Live? Or, should you wait until Motorola's or Asus's first Android Wear devices come to market? And what about connectivity? Will buying a smartwatch mean having to also buy a new smartphone too?

In terms of interoperability, all smartwatches that use Google's Android Wear operating system will work with an Android handset that runs version 4.3 Jelly Bean. So the chances are that if your phone's less than two years old, there shouldn't be a problem. However, just to make sure, Google has set up a website.

If you visit it via your handset it will automatically say whether or not it's going to be compatible.

So your phone's going to work with a smartwatch, but which one is going to be the best fit?

With their focus on delivering pertinent, up-to-the-second information, delivered the second before you realize that you even need it, both the LG G Watch and Samsung Gear Live offer enough to appeal to tech-savvy consumers that are glued to their smartphones.

That's because both watches are not about missed voice calls or text messages -- that's what voicemail and inboxes are for -- but about ‘augmenting' the moment, be it warning about a traffic jam up ahead, a change in flight times or the possibility that your team is seconds away from crashing out of the World Cup. In other words, all of those other alerts that mean you're forever fishing your smartphone out of a pocket or bag.

High on utility but low on style, either device will no doubt appeal to smartphone power users who until now have never considered wearing anything on their wrist except maybe a smartband -- particularly the Samsung watch as it also has an integrated heart rate sensor.

But if usefulness is your number-one reason for joining the wearable tech revolution, Asus, the maker of the Nexus 7 tablet could have a trick up its sleeve. Although it won't reveal precise details of the smartwatch it is readying, reliable sources and a host of hints point to a September launch.

And, when it does arrive, it is set to have an AMOLED display and will be priced between $99 and $149, which would make it significantly cheaper than the $229 LG G Watch or the $199 Samsung counterpart yet with much of the same functionality.

And for those that can't wait until September and want something that offers style and utility in equal measure, there's the Motorola Moto 360 which, to all intents and purposes, looks like it was crafted in a Swiss workshop.

There is still no confirmation regarding how much the watch will cost or about exactly when consumers will be able to strap it onto their wrists other than it will be during the summer.

However, to whet people's appetites, Motorola has just posted the first official video of the real watch in action.

Up until now, all it would show were renders and computer-generated simulations of the device. The two-minute clip is of the real watch working in the real world and as well as highlighting the quality of its construction -- stainless steel bezel and suede strap -- it also gives us an idea of what it will be like to use and the features to expect and how things like navigation and notification cards will be presented.

For instance, it has a host of different watch faces -- from classical inset-dial chronograph to split-screen digital, and responds to voice commands as well as on-screen finger swipes.

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