Android Wear continues to evolve with support for local music storage and GPS

Jon Phillips Editor-in-Chief, Greenbot Follow me on Google+

Jon is the Editor-in-Chief of PCWorld, Macworld, Greenbot & TechHive. He's been covering all manner of consumer hardware since 1995.
More by

Google is rolling out an Android Wear update that adds features for local music storage and on-board GPS tracking—two nifty tricks that will let you leave your smartphone at home when it’s time for that epic jog. The new features are welcome, but you’ll have to wait for a few puzzles pieces to slide into place before you can begin using them.

Announced in a Thursday blog post, Android Wear 4.4W.2 adds support for GPS tech built directly into watches. This will allow you to track data points like distance, speed, and mapping when you’re out for a run, all without packing along your cumbersome smartphone.

But there’s a critical gotcha: None of today’s three available Android Wear watches include hardware GPS. Nor is GPS available in the G Watch R, which will hit stores in early November. The first Android Wear watch that can take advantage of the new GPS feature is Sony’s Smartwatch 3, which is available for pre-order from Verizon and should ship within a week.

Read more »

0

New rumors of Microsoft wearable include FCC filing, mystery watch on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Jared Newman , PCWorld Follow me on Google+

Jared writes for PCWorld and TechHive from his remote outpost in Cincinnati.
More by

The details keep rolling in on Microsoft’s upcoming fitness band, which will likely be announced within a few weeks.

A new filing with the Federal Communications Commission describes a “mobile wireless device” that comes in small, medium and large sizes, according to Windows Phone Daily. The filing says the circuitry is the same inside each device, suggesting that the size differences are merely meant to fit a wide variety of wrists.

But a more intriguing rumor came in earlier this week, during a broadcast of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. on ABC. During the show, one of the characters flashed a slim fitness band with a color display, showing the wearer’s heart rate. As Twitter user Erdim Tanyeri pointed out, Microsoft products such as the Surface Pro 3 and Lumia phones frequently appear on the show, so the fitness band could be Microsoft’s next act of product placement.

Read more »

3

Bit by bit, the Moto 360 continues to get better

Jared Newman , Greenbot Follow me on Google+

Jared writes for PCWorld and TechHive from his remote outpost in Cincinnati.
More by

Motorola is making some adjustments to its Moto 360 smartwatch as a wave of new competitors come crashing ashore.

The latest software update addresses a couple of key complaints with Motorola's watch while making a few other pleasant improvements. Here's a rundown of the changes:

  • To ensure that the Moto 360 lasts through the day, ambient mode will turn off automatically when the battery hits 15 percent. With ambient mode enabled, the screen stays on in a low-power state even when it's not in active use. It's helpful for glancing at the time and notifications without twisting your wrist, but it consumers much more battery.
  • The Moto 360's clock will synchronize with a paired phone more often, hopefully eliminating issues with the wrong time being displayed.
  • When users get a notification, they'll be able to touch the top of it and swipe down to bring the full clock back into view. Notifications will stay hidden until another high-priority one comes in.
  • While charging, the brightness of the Moto 360's clock mode will adjust automatically based on the lighting of the room.
  • The watch will also get various bug fixes, along with some under-the-hood changes in preparation for offline music playback in Android Wear.
Read more »

0

I’m wearin’ it! Survey shows users would buy wearable tech from McDonald’s

Jared Newman , PCWorld Follow me on Google+

Jared writes for PCWorld and TechHive from his remote outpost in Cincinnati.
More by

The future of wearable technology could involve strapping a few Big Macs to your body for convenient snacking.

At least that's one possible conclusion from a new survey on wearables from PricewaterhouseCoopers. One of the survey questions asked the 1,000 respondents how excited they'd be about wearables from various brands. While Apple unsurprisingly came out on top, the bottom of the list is much more interesting.

Apparently, 18 percent of respondents said they were somewhat or very interested in wearable technology from McDonald's—a surprisingly high number for something that seems beyond comprehension. The survey also found that 27 percent of respondents were interested in a Starbucks wearable, and 26 percent were interested in wearable tech from Coca-Cola.

Read more »

1

Report: Sprint to charge $10 per month for Samsung Gear S data plan

Jared Newman , TechHive Follow me on Google+

Jared writes for PCWorld and TechHive from his remote outpost in Cincinnati.
More by

Samsung's Gear S smartwatch is unique for its ability to make calls and get online without pairing to a nearby phone, but that luxury may not come cheap.

According to a leaked Sprint memo published by Phandroid, the carrier intends to charge $10 per month for Gear S service. Subscribers can either tap into their existing Family Share plans, which include unlimited talk and text, or buy a standalone plan with 1000 minutes, 1000 messages and 100MB of data. Either way, the monthly cost is the same.

Samsung announced the Gear S in late August, but the company hasn't disclosed pricing or release dates. While Samsung has said the watch will be available through all four major wireless carriers, none of them have officially revealed how voice, text and data plans will work for this new device type.

Read more »

2

Fitbit Surge leak reveals a fitness-focused 'superwatch'

Jared Newman , PCWorld Follow me on Google+

Jared writes for PCWorld and TechHive from his remote outpost in Cincinnati.
More by

Fitbit's fitness bands are reportedly getting more smartwatch-like with the $250 Fitbit Surge.

In leaked marketing materials published by The Verge, Fitbit refers to the Surge as a “fitness superwatch” with GPS location tracking, round-the-clock heart rate monitoring, and a larger display than Fitbit's previous efforts. It'll launch in the “coming weeks” for $250.

The band itself is broader than previous Fitbit models, more like a regular watch band. It tapers wider and thicker as it meets the display, which can show the time, workout details, and notifications for calls and text messages. Users can also control music playback, presumably on a paired smartphone.

Read more »

0

LG G Watch R: Best battery life, best display, best Android Wear watch available today

Jon Phillips Editor-in-Chief, Greenbot Follow me on Google+

Jon is the Editor-in-Chief of PCWorld, Macworld, Greenbot & TechHive. He's been covering all manner of consumer hardware since 1995.
More by

Smartwatches like the LG G Watch R are probably best suited for skilled craftsmen. I’m talking ironworkers, car mechanics, plumbers, and stonemasons. These are the professions that make a man’s wrists buff and burly, and you’ll want the biggest wrist possible for a smartwatch this large. Still, if you have the bone and muscle density to pull it off, you’ll be rewarded with the best Android Wear watch available today.

Its size notwithstanding, the G Watch R has a look that sends all the right signals to sports watch traditionalists. Just as importantly, the R’s battery life easily beats that of the Moto 360, its direct Android Wear competitor. And there’s a lot to like about LG’s Plastic OLED display, too.

g watch r wrist3 Jason Cross

I’ve got a writer’s wrist. Your wrists may vary. Here we see the World Clock watch face.

Read more »

0