Android Wear review: Taking smartwatches in the right direction
It's not much of a looker, but the LG G Watch is a respectable Android Wear device. Its battery life is slightly better than the Samsung Gear Live, but it's also more expensive and doesn't offer as nice a display.
- Performs well
- Swappable wristbands
- Charging cradle is easy to use
- Easier to read in sunlight than competition
- More expensive than the Gear Live
- Display has lower resolution than competition
- Horrible battery life
- Limited to newer Android devices
- Unattractive design
When I was a tiny tot, I watched Knight Rider and pretended I was Michael Knight, talking to KITT on my watch. Yet now that there are real-life watches that can do even more things, I don't find myself quite as excited as my 5-year-old self was. Smartwatches have been around for over a decade already (remember Microsoft SPOT?), but the category hasn't evolved at the same pace as smartphones. It's not because there's a shortage of digital wrist-worn timepieces. The problem is that there's no common platform for third-party apps, which means there's little potential for growth.
There also doesn't seem to be any vision. Some watches act as Android phones with SIM cards and tiny touchscreens, while others try to establish their own platform to entice developers. Still others have even tried to put fitness bands and smartwatches into one device, to limited success. Even worse, most of the watches on the market today are what you might call "fashionably challenged" -- they simply aren't attractive enough to entice the masses. Google's solution is to extend its Android platform -- which has very strong market share and developer support -- to the wearables genre with Android Wear.