John Galea's Blog

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Smartwatches

Not long ago I reviewed my Sony Smart Watch 2 and now we have the announcement from Apple. It’s amusing to see presses “hating” of this product already. You know what the number one problem with the Smart Watch revolution, realistic expectation. Expect the sun and the moon out of a watch and your about to be MAJORLY disappointed. Point in case take this one genius’s opinion “it needs to replace — needs to completely replace our need for a cellphone”. ((His whole post). Talk about someone that missed the point. DUMMY this thing is a watch. It supplements your phone not replace it. In fact to keep battery life reasonable and size small the watch relies on the phone. Just how much the smart watch can do without the phone is one of those design choices/trade offs that had to be made. Over 2 months after I bought my Sony Smartwatch I have not stopped using it even one day. I occasionally take it off to protect it. I replaced the cheap rubber watch band with a nice inexpensive metal band from ebay. Kudos to Sony for using a STANDARD watch band. Not like Apple who, suprise suprise, went to proprietary band so you have to buy it from them. I’m sure if Apple could have figured out a watch to put a chip in the band to insure you don’t use a third party watch band they would have (think lightning cable). The big question is if my Sony Smart Watch broke tomorrow would I buy it again? Given the evolution going on the answer is probably not. I’d try something else.

THE biggest disappointment for the Sony Smart watch 2 is all of the things Sony and third party developers could do with this watch. There is a ton of potential for this device that will never be realized. The existence of third party apps like Watchit (that can take any notification and push it to the phone) and Remote widget (can take any widget and display it on the watch) are revolutionary in removing the need for apps to be specifically written to support the watch. Why these weren’t designed in by Sony is beyond me. Heh Sony, go buy these two apps from the owner and be done with it.

So what do I use it for? First and foremost it’s a programmable watch. I can change the watchface anytime I want. I can pull dynamic information such as the weather, song playing, next calender event etc into the watchface by a cleverly designed editor. Very flexible, and extensible. Numerous third parties have developed additional watch widgets you can use to pull dynamic data from the phone. Or simply just display a normal looking watch face. But the CHOICE is yours. Here are some examples of my favs (by the way the lines you see are not shown on the watch they are just part of the editor you use to design the watchface and this is the easiest way of getting the screen capture shy of taking a picture of the watch) :
Screenshot_2014-09-10-09-34-15Screenshot_2014-09-10-09-34-04Screenshot_2014-09-10-09-33-46Screenshot_2014-09-10-09-33-00Screenshot_2014-09-10-09-33-28Screenshot_2014-09-10-09-32-10

The second purpose the watch serves for me is secondary notifications. I find it a VERY effective way of not missing messages and phone calls. I don’t often read the message on the watch, and even if I did I have to take the phone out to reply so that is something that is not all that important to me.

Next purpose is built in chronometer functions. Count down, stop watch, alarms etc. I’ve used an simple analog watch for a very long time and it’s nice to have these back.

Lastly I have a few apps like Endomondo that support the watch and run as a remote display for the phone on the watch.

That’s about it. Battery life is 2-3 days. For some this is there show stopper. For me this is not a big deal. The fact that it can be changed with a standard micro USB charger (even my portable battery pack that I carry for my phone works) and charges the watch quickly is a mitigating factor to the paranoia of having the battery die. But that said, it is yet another thing I need to keep charged.

Is the smart watch earth shattering, revolutionary, something I can’t live without? Absolutely not. But it is useful enough, and reliable enough that I keep mine and like the device.

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September 10, 2014 - Posted by | Android

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