Wear Mini Launcher

Wear Mini Launcher for Android Wear arrived a few days back to address one of our main gripes with Google's smartwatch OS. With a swipe from the top left, the wrist-based launcher made it easy to access the list of installed apps on your watch. And over the weekend the app has been updated a couple of times with various bug fixes — including solutions for issues affecting Gear Live owners — while adding another oft-requested feature.

The latest version of Wear Mini Launcher introduces a quick shortcut for brightness into the app list, allowing you to toggle your backlight level using the slider that appears at the top of the screen. It's considerably quicker than navigating into the Settings app and choosing one of the five or six preset levels, and it addresses another of our top complaints about the initial release of Android Wear.

Android Wear owners can grab the app from the Play Store link above. If you're already using the Wear Mini Launcher, hit the comments and let us know how you're getting on!

 
There are 14 comments

Impulses says:

Has lowering brightness allowed anyone to eke out an extra day out of their watch's battery? I'm genuinely curious, I imagine the watch spends a good majority of the time on the reduced brightness monochrome dimmed mode regardless... That might suggest you might as well crank it for actual use, but if you're faffing about with it often it might make enough of a dent.

Lee Petchey says:

I think if you're not messing around with it too much, the brightness level makes almost no difference. Hence, I have it cranked to max at all times.

If you are using it with the screen on numerous times throughout the day, lowering the brightness certainly wouldn't squeeze another day out of the battery. And anything less than 40 hours is only as good as 24 for me.

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droidhead_1 says:

I have mine cranked all the way and go to bed with 30-50% every night. I don't mind charging daily so brightness or battery is a non issue for me. I was at the beach yesterday and had no problems. Not bright a vivid but I could see what I needed to enough for it to still be useful. I have a custom watch face with a background from my gallery and a badass custom strap that fits my style well. I am pleased to be an early adaptor.

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Lee Petchey says:

Same here! The odds of me seeing anyone in the UK with a smartwatch (other than maybe a Gear Fit) are pretty slim. Nice to have a relatively rare product and, with a custom watchface and leather strap, it looks stylish.

droidhead_1 says:

Sorry, just responding to your brightness comment then went on my on rant..

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Impulses says:

It's fine, useful info IMO, seems like the brightness issue is very much a YMMV kinda thing. If you NEED it to be visible at random angles (like say, riding a bike) it might be a fail, but it sounds like one can work around it otherwise.

gadgetgaz says:

Great update, now works perfectly on the Gear Live and the brightness control is useful - just not sure if it's any more convenient than long pressing the power button.

bujin says:

I agree - I tried it and didn't see the benefit, given that the power button can take you right to settings. Probably much more beneficial with the G Watch, though

Mini launcher is a must for Android Wear. Makes it easy to crank up the brightness while outside.

sebuas says:

Very good update thought i have emailed the developer about adding option to enable/disable haptic feedback.

Hiberny says:

I love the functionality, but the fact that the app is needed makes me want to wait for Android wear to mature before buying a watch.

I think by the winter there will be variety of manufacturers to really spur innovation.

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wezra says:

Now works fine on the Gear Live. I have virtually no 3rd Party Apps on the watch at this point so not much for me to take advantage of sans the brightness option. That said, I'll let it sit for a while and see how it matures over time.

eyesparky says:

Works well. Particularly like the easy brightness adjustment. Finding that I can see it easily outside in sunlight from 4 to 6, so the rumours of being useless outdoors are somewhat over exaggerated. I can see the hands on an analogue style watch face while the screen is dimmed outdoors too. (LG G Watch by the way)

frobroj says:

Alex - you need to do a follow up piece on this app! I didn't install it when you first wrote about it but just did and am blown away with how much more I get out of the watch. It appears to have changed quite a bit and I really think it and the dev deserve a follow up article. My two cents!! Especially post Sept 4th. Jm