Joanna Stern Reviews the LG and Samsung Android Wear Watches

Joanna Stern:

I just wish the software were as smart about notifications. Android Wear is designed to transmit all your phone’s notifications to your watch. For someone like me, who gets a lot of mail, tweets and Facebook comments, that’s a lot of wrist buzzing.

When it comes to this topic, there are two types of people, Google’s director of Android engineering, David Singleton, told me. There are those who “love to have exactly the same content on their phone and watch because it gives them the comfort that they don’t need to pull out their phones,” he said. Then there are those, including me, who want a watch to report just what’s important.

For that second user, there’s simply not enough customization yet. Either I get buzzed every time someone emails me, or I don’t get any email alerts at all. Sure, the watch helps me look at my phone less, but I’d prefer a middle ground, where my wrist vibrates only when my editor or fiancée emails me.

There’s clearly a lot of potential with Google Now and wearable devices. That plays to Google’s strengths in voice input and ambient knowledge. But the notification system and overall UI navigation seems like a half-baked mess, and the hardware is clunky and needs daily charging. These strike me as devices that have been rushed to market.

(Don’t miss the video, which includes footage of Stern trying to wear the Galaxy Gear to her best friend’s wedding.)

Wednesday, 9 July 2014