What are the most used features and biggest pain points on Android Wear smartwatches?
Smart watches become increasingly widespread over the Last few years. Since the rise in popularity, many brands of smartwatch have been released. Consumers have found numerous uses for this device and it has kicked off the industry of smart apparel. One of the most popular smart watch operating systems is Android Wear, accounting for 10% of the market. There are several features that consumers like with these watches, including the battery life, standalone apps, and several other aspects of the operating system. On the other hand, there are some problems that reviewers have found including unbundled notifications, large size, and difficulty using the small screen.
The information used was gathered from the reviews of Android Wear watches and common elements are noted below.
One of the recent improvements that the Android Wear watches have is the ability to run native apps. This has been noted as a marked improvement as it removes the need to have a smart phone nearby. This enables the watch to be used on its own without the need for an accompanying device. The dedicated Google Play store allows apps to be installed based on the owner’s needs and requirements. This separates the watch from the smart phone further. The watch can have useful apps running on it, such as keyboards, messengers, or games.
Notifications, and their improvements, have also been mentioned in several reviews. Now they are smaller and do not take up the whole screen, something that was noted as an improvement. The reviewer noted that this increased the battery life and did not take over the screen immediately. The integration with Google products has also been mentioned, specifically that Google Now notifications appear on the screen.
The user interface is also received praise from reviewers. The customisability of the watch face is an improvement and it is regarded as clean, efficient, and simplified for use. In this regard, the buttons on the side of the watch are being praised as they simplify use and allow the watch used in the dark. Small things like the recently used app drawer has also been praised as simplifying use and making the UI more efficient.
The improved battery life was also mentioned in several reviews and is important for users. That it can handle the full day on a single charge is a key point and the quick charge time is praised in this review.
Other functionality, such as the ability to stream music, was also praised. Likewise, the improved fitness tracking and fitness-related functionalities were also regarded as big improvements, especially the addition of individual activity counting such as push-ups and other forms of repetitive exercise. This improves the accuracy of the statistics gathered by the watch and may indicate that consumers are moving away from dedicated fitness devices, such as the Fitbit, and using their smart watches for the same purpose.
One of the main cons associated with the Android Wear watch is hardware related. Some users find it too large. For those with smaller arms, the smartwatch is oversized. One reviewer referred to it as an ‘iron shackle’ on their small wrist. On the other hand, screen is regarded as too small, especially for precise tasks such as typing.
One aspect of the notifications that was criticized was that they were ‘unbundled’. If there are multiple app notifications, each appears on the screen separately. In the past, these were all bundled together and a tap would separate them. For users that receive many notifications in a short amount of time, this change causes notifications to clutter the screen and was described as ‘aggravating’. This reinforces the idea of the sleek, uncluttered design that is desired by consumers for smart watches.
Some native apps were referred to as temperamental. The reviewer specifically mentioned the Google Maps application that is bundled with the Android operating system. The Google assistant on the watch was also criticized as being ineffective and integrating badly with the Google Home system.
The Android smartwatch OS has received praise from most reviewers. They praise the user interface, the increased battery life, and the separation from the smart phone. This allows the watch to be used as a standalone device, with its own apps and functionality that does not depend on a phone. Some criticisms were leveled at hardware issues such as an oversized design that made it difficult for people with smaller wrists to use and a small screen that did not easily allow for precise activities such as typing. Most changes from the previous version of the Android Wear watch were positively received, apart from the changes to notifications causing them to bombard the screen. Sleek and easy-to-use design are a common thread between reviews and seems to be the most important aspect of a smart watch.