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No, Android Wear isn't stagnant

As early adopters, many of us Android folk are used to living on the bleeding edge. The hardware, powered by not-quite-polished software, is what some of us live for. It's cool to have access to the next generation of technology, stuff that the average user won't even touch for months. We look for phones and tablets with the fastest processors, the densest pixels, and the most interesting design, because it makes us happy to do so.

As a result, what is happening with Android Wear right now frustrates a lot of early adopters. With the release of Huawei's Watch, the Moto 360 refresh, and even the new Asus Zenwatch, it almost feels like progress has slowed on purpose. While that's not totally true, it has become increasingly clear Android Wear will never be a hardware arms race. Some of that has to do with the manufacturers, but most of why Android Wear will be different from Android has to do with decisions made at Google.

The cost of tiny

Moto 360 2015

Without a doubt, the most complicated part of developing a smartwatch is combining miniaturization with style. Making something small and functional is hard, but making that same small, functional thing look nice and still do everything you want it to do takes an entirely different skill set.

It's easy to confuse this for stagnation, but in truth it's the cost of placing design on the same pedestal as functionality.

Looking at the Android wear Gen 2 watch lineup, which essentially starts with the LG G Watch R and end with everything announced at IFA this year, you'll see most manufacturers hit the same basic roadblocks. The watch needs to be small enough for mass appeal, but it also needs to have a minimum amount of hardware to make it something people will actually buy, at a price people will actually pay. It doesn't do the company any good to release a $600 base model with a 500mAh battery and a next-gen processor, nor is it functional to release a razor-thin smartwatch with a 150mAh battery and a terrible display.

The balance point is what you see on the market today, slightly better than 330 x 330 resolution displays with Qualcomm's Snapdragon 400 powered by something in the neighborhood of 350mAh. Each manufacturer made some choices about which side of this balance point they thought would sell the most watches. Huawei focused on the highest resolution display and the most watch-like design at the cost of battery capacity and features. Motorola focused on features and the least possible bezel at the cost of a truly watch-like design. Every watch leans in one direction or another, but they all lean from this same basic balance point. It's easy to confuse this for stagnation, but in truth it's the cost of placing design on the same pedestal as functionality.

Unity above all else

LG Watch Urbane

Unlike Android, where manufacturers can make deep and lasting changes to many parts of the Operating System and choose to maintain a fork of the core themselves, Google controls the keys to the Android Wear kingdom. Manufacturers can add apps and watchfaces to their launch builds, but you're going to get the same overall experience when you move from watch to watch. Google's walled garden gives the company a great deal of control over what is supported, and manufacturers need to operate within those boundaries to create their products.

Google's ability to offer a single target for developers to create against is its greatest strength in the wearables market for the time being.

The benefit to users is a guaranteed set of updates, with new features added as soon as Google has them ready. The natural cost there is anything a manufacturer thinks is a great new usage paradigm or feature set has to either be approved by Google or put in something that doesn't run Android Wear. The Samsung Gear S2 is a perfect example of this. There are a lot of folks that enjoy the Samsung Gear Live, but the Gear S2 includes features and hardware ideas that don't function within the current Android Wear usage paradigm.

This isn't likely to change anytime soon, for a couple of reasons. First, Google's ability to manage expectations with software updates is incredibly important to their ability to compete with Apple's Watch, especially now that iOS support has been added to the mix. Second, manufacturers have proven at just about every turn that it's easy to decide something shouldn't be supported if it didn't sell enough. Google's ability to offer a single target for developers to create against, while offering a similar experience across the board, is its greatest strength in the wearables market for the time being.

Far from stagnant

Asus Zenwatch

The most important part of Android Wear right now is the ability to pick which shape and size you want your wrist computer to be. In this context, where Android Wear is a single experience with multiple outer shell options, similarity doesn't mean stagnation. Google can continue to support this single basic template for quite a while, and while there are those out there who wish these watches had a little more storage for music modes, the rest of the hardware in these watches is going to be more than enough for a while. There's not going to be a major hardware evolution in the next year that will lead to a wildly different Android Wear experience, and that's a good thing.

It's probably inappropriate to go so far as to call these watches built to last, but it's clear there's a focus on this design being built such that it's not obsolete in a few months. Many early adopters are used to that happening with phones and tablets already, so in some ways it was expected with Android Wear, but at this intersection of miniaturization, cost, and design, it's clear we're going to see improvements happen in waves. So settle in, we're not due for another wave for a bit.

Russell is a Contributing Editor at Android Central. He's a former server admin who has been using Android since the HTC G1, and quite literally wrote the book on Android tablets. You can usually find him chasing the next tech trend, much to the pain of his wallet. Find him on Facebook and Twitter

  • And that's it in a nutshell. We are at least a generation or two away from what could be said as the standard for smartwatches is concerned. We will get there just not as fast as all us bleeding edge types would like. Posted via the Android Central App
  • $150 mah??? Posted via the Android Central App
  • did you even read any of the article?
  • Great points raised here. It will be interesting to see the progress of AW 2 generations from now. Right now I'm more interested in the integration of usability/in obtrusive designs that work with my phone. I am open minded. Not a fan of some of the clunky offerings. Power management and durability are important but style is up there as well as the OS and how hardware manufacturers expect me to interact with the software evolves. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I agree with this after owning 4-5 smart watch now. I'm more than content with the SD400 becuase it functions well. People think it's using all 4 cores so they assume we need a watch spefici processor. The watch only uses 1 core from what I understand and while a wath specific processor would be nice if takes time to develop. Let's not forget how mediocre Qualcomm chips have become lately which makes me think they won't release a watch specific one unless there's a huge amount of demand to warrant the R&D costs. I'm a big fan of the Huawei hardware which I hope will be as great as it seems when my watch arrives. I liked my LG Urbane but the polished finish got dirty really fast and it bothered my OCD which meant I was constantly cleaning it with a microfiber cloth. The Huawei has a nice normal SS finish so I doubt it will suffer from that issue. The leather on the Urbane also wasn't what I would call great either bi would have used my own band but I can't justify putting a $120+ leather band on it like I have on my desk mechanical watch. The battery life on it was great and sat around 1-2 days in most cases besides the occasional bizzare drain I would get which killed it in 8 hrs with little use. AW still needs some bug fixes which I hope all come with Marshmallow but we will have to wait and see. I have terrible short-term memory due to my ADHD even with medication so having my reminders pop up via the watch on Google keep/inbox/Google now helps me out quite a bit. As a college student the only drawback is that I can't wear it during exams for obvious reasons so I have to bring my regular watch to know how much time I have left since not all professors provide adequate updates. Google also needs to fix their fit app which thinks I'm running when I walk since I walk at a brisk 4-5mph most of the day at school due to the large campus and short time between some classes. Fit also has buga when you manually add a gym activity which doesn't save every part of my workout that I input no matter how many times I try to update it. Other than those bugs I think AW has a lot of potential and jwll gian more users with the new crop of watches. I'm excited for my new Huawei Watch and Nexus so we will see for they turn out.
  • TL;DR User has all the "hippest" mental disorders and lots of money to blow on Android Wear.
  • I wouldn't say we need faster processors but more efficient processors would definitely come in handy in such space restricted devices. Can't wait for 14nm SoCs to come to Android Wear devices :D
  • Until Android wear breaks the tech "cool" paradigm and bridges the " watches are more about artistic value and craftsmanship"'ll continue to stagnate. Apples watch is the closest thing to that design parallel, and even it looks like something you pick up at target for 14 year old. I'm a watch enthusiast, by no means a snob or a collector...and even I look at what's available and think "gauche, trashy and cheapo.". We have some design evolution to commit to, and likely it'll take a Tag Hauer or Omega to get it right (or some approximation of right that doesn't look like a cereal box prize." Posted via the Android Central App
  • My thoughts exactly. Thinking outside of the box (including our own)will be the next evolution. Even Apple with its childish design of its Iwatch isn't there yet but they are closer. The best smart watch will be one that can stand alone but doesn't have to. Is not platform specific but plays well with all and doesn't only look good with jeans and a shirt on teenagers or tech geeks. Posted via the Android Central App
  • It hasn't been mentioned recently, but I'm really hoping the Tag Heuer watch is the one that will really nail this, maybe with some combination of real analogue dials with overlying digital notification, or maybe I'm hoping for too much. We'll see... If it is, I'd pay for it... Posted via the Android Central App (Nexus 6 or the AC App running on a Pixel Chromebook)
  • Agreed. Tissot or Timex Swatch or Casio could do this as well. Posted via the Android Central App
  • or a Tissot watch face?
  • I think yours is more the mentality of people who don't already use a watch of any sort. For someone like myself who already use a variety of watches (I have a Tag, an Omega and a Cartier in addition to a G Shock, a Seiko and a Citizen that I use depending on the occasion) the current line up of watches fit well within the spectrum of watch designs. I use my GWAR for work and the gym and my 360 with SS bracelet for church and other scenarios that call for a slightly dressier look. They both fit well into my watch rotation.
  • But to that regard your AW watch is relegated to thise use wouldn't sub a moto watch for an Omega Posted via the Android Central App
  • Actually I'm a huge fan of traditional watches which is precisely why I hold my opinion. I collect traditional my favourite being vintage Omega. For this reason I have no problem of purchasing all of the offerings to see which actually works well for me without the chains of fanboyism which keeps people unnaturally loyal to such a new and fleeting tech which needs to be adopted to evolve. Clinging to any one way will stunt its growth. I didnt mind my slightly garish Gear worked very well and I even used the video and cam. I didn't mind the limited Pebble. I would like to see watch makers step in to help. The Ski industry revolutionised the Snowboarding industry with its tech in a similar way but it didn't happen for a good 6 generations of snowboard manufacturing. Posted via the Android Central App
  • You need to expand your perspective a little.
  • Hehe those faces are great. I would love to see AW faces work on Tizen as I am liking the functionality of both but the build of the new Gear S2 looks great Posted via the Android Central App
  • I didn't read that right did I? The apple watch is closest thing to looking like a normal watch? The square shape is like a casio calculator watch from decades ago.
  • Yeah a $150 gen 1 metal 360 is a crazy deal. The current crop just can't justify the costs. I'll use my new 360 and when an update comes out that is missing functionality, I'll sell the 360 and get a new one at a discount. It's not a phone, it's a watch and even the TI calculator processor in the gen 1 Moto does it's job admirably. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Agreed. I'm content with the pace of smart watch development even though I'm a tech junkie. My wallet is happy with it too. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Yeah and after this last update it dosent lag anymore, did you notice that?
  • I'm pretty happy with how things stand right now. What makes me the happiest about the evolution of watches is that I don't feel like I need a new watch this year, because my current watch is still doing everything the more recent ones are. If I were to fix one thing with Android Wear, it would be the ability to choose the apps that are on my watch. It's annoying to have every compatible app installed on my watch, just because it can. I really don't need amazon shopping on my watch...
  • Have you tried Wear Mini Launcher?
    Fantastic app for many reasons, and it allows you to block all the apps you don't want to see.
  • I'll get a smartwatch once battery tech improves. It will take a long while, though.
  • Serious question. Do you sleep with a watch on? If not, any one of them will last a day, drop on charger with your phone while you sleep. If it's sleep tracking you're after and don't mind a clunky watch on your wrist while you sleep (no thanks) any of them will work as well. Just set on the charger 30 mins before you go to sleep, then do it again when you shower in the morning. Problem solved.
  • I wear my watch during the day but I usually take it off. However, one big reason I'm not craving a smartwatch is because I already have a fitness tracker. It already does most of the fitness stuff. The one reason why I'd like battery tech to improve is because I want these watches to have a longer lifespan. I don't want to buy another watch along with my phone. I still have a watch that's over a decade old with a crack on the face and it's still ticking.
  • Moto 360 wont if you use it frequently. I wake up at 5 am, take it off the charger, and work from 8 am to 5pm. I use it for texts and notifications of course, and i love using it to control my music. I turned off all that Moto fit stuff, but it is still down to about 15% by the time i leave the office. This is where Samsung and Tizen wins. Same useage and it can last two days on a Gear 2 Neo. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Yeah. I used to get 2-3 days on my first generation Samsung Gear. Gear 2 got 2 days. I'm not interested in eating up electricity charging tons every single day like I see Apple users do. Even my laptop gets a few days out of a single charge. My Gear let's me choose exactly which apps of all of them on my phone sends me notifications. Posted via the Android Central App
  • With ambient Mode off?!
  • I used to think that same thing about smartphones. It really does bother me how little battery technology has advanced. People spend more time trying to make processors efficient because they can't figure out how to improve battery capacity vs. size. It sure is frustrating.
  • I like the looks of some of the newer watches, but I like the SW3 and the OG 360 better. Posted via Xperia Z3
  • I love the useful simplicity of Android Wear. A smartwatch is, first and foremost, a watch. The Apple and Samsung philosophy of a phone on a wrist seems, to me, a little silly. I want my watch to help me, not to replace my beautiful and vastly more powerful phone.
    On the Gear S (which I own along with a G Watch) forum is a thread about an upcoming audio book app for that watch. Seriously? Games on a watch. Seriously? YouTube on a watch. Seriously? I could go on, but you get the picture. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Don't forget about the Tag Heuer and Fossil Android Wear watches due out Q4. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Meanwhile over at Samsung, they do not seem to be having the slowdown that the article seems is necessary. Check out the new Nexus!, not a Rick roll
  • Aside from a different form factor, what is it that the S2 will offer over the original S? Aside from limited compatability with Android (a limitation brought on by their choice of OS), which may also come to the original S. Posted via the Android Central App
  • New menu, the rotating dial to select better battery life...I am sure their are more but those will do. I am not knocking aw just that things are stagnant. Hardware does not need to move forward so much but the software does. Tizen has issues with not having apps so they are both flawed Check out the new Nexus!, not a Rick roll
  • I just switched from the Moto 360 to the Gear S, and for the most part the Gear S has much more polished software. I'm missing some of the integration of Google Apps though, like Hangouts and Maps.
  • Google needs to add speaker support to android wear!
    Also would he nice go see cheaper smart watches.
    Still have the Original lg g watch, this thing lags horribly Posted via Android Central App on 1+1
  • My G runs great. I hate the form, though. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Maybe it's because I used wear mini launcher Posted via Android Central App on 1+1
  • Wait, are there no speakers on any of the AW watches? GOing through this article and comments I was talking myself into a smartwatch and one of the big reasons was for google maps when I ride my bike and having a speaker closer to me, not to mention being able to quickly glance at the map.
  • If only the Gear S2 were flash-able i.e. giving me the choice to try out Android Wear. My GF has a OG Gear and a Gear Fit she can't use because her Note 2 died and she hasn't bothered replacing it with another Samsung (she's using her OG Samsung GNex as a basic backup). I use a OG Pebble because for the price point I paid ($99 CDN) this was a novelty and I'm happy with basic notifications. I don't see myself paying anything really over say $150 for any Android Wear smartwatch because I don't see the value-for-money proposition personally. I pretty much feel the same in not paying $800+ for a Smartphone when for a lot of people something like the Zenfone 2 or the 2015 Moto G is more than adequate for their needs. I'm more interested in projects like the BLOCKS modular smartwatch concept or the Sony Wena where additional functionality comes in the watchband itself. So we'll see how this all will shake out in the end.
  • Yes! If there was an option to toggle between Tizen and Android Wear on the S2, they would sell so many more of them. It will never happen though and that's a shame. Samsung knows AW is pretty awesome and is going to brute force Tizen into the world as yet another OS. I wish them luck, although they will do just fine. AW for me all day long though. I can track and view planes overhead with Flightradar24 on my 360. That's pretty damn cool, etc. Maybe Tizen will catapult ahead, but then again Windows Phone is going to take over the world as well (i.e. no).
  • As long as Tizen stays on wear, that's fine. Check out the new Nexus!, not a Rick roll
  • Samsung didn't do this because of Android Wear. So far Android Wear is pretty slow growing and they know this. They did this moreso to counter the Apple Watch. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Agreed. Posted via the Android Central App
  • AW is awesome? Maybe in a few years after a few ideas are borrowed. It's Google that is brute forcing AW to limit better options. As far as Samsung goes, their stupidity allows it by not offering Tizen as a more open platform to the rest. Their one shot to make Tizen more of a standard and they keep it to themselves.
  • Smart watches will follow the same path as 3d tvs unfortunately. Not trying to hate. Smartwatches need a couple KILLER functions in order to succeed. A heart sensor coupled with a mickey mouse watch face isn't gonna be enough. They need to be able to do things that phones can't Posted via the Android Central App
  • They will never go away. They have their uses to some, but others like me may never find it. Check out the new Nexus!, not a Rick roll
  • It has 2 KILLER functions for me. It tells me the time and shows me my notifications. The fact I can respond to many of them is just an added plus. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Seeing notifications for a smart watch should be the primary function and should always grow from there, whether it seeing and responding to SMS or facebook messages.
  • Tizen. That is all. Until AW opens restriction, OEM are better off experimenting with their own like Tizen, WebOS, and Pebble. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I totally disagree with this article. The future of the smartwatch is OS like Tizen and any other custom OS. That's the only way products will be different. If companies like Tag or Omega were the ones coming out with these watches, they could sell on name alone, but it's not the case. In the watch Market, people don't care about LG and Samsung. When all the watches have the same specs and same OS, then you are left with the same experience. The winner will be the cheapest. Also, I disagree with the bezel thing. Motorola's watch was the first circular watch but I own ten's of watches and every single one of them have a bezel. So watches like the Urbane and the Huawei look more like an actual watch than the Motorola.
  • I'm not sure what you thought you were disagreeing with me on, I'm pretty sure we're on the same page. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I think Android Wear is stagnant and you said it isn't. But I guess we agree on the rest.
  • So basically you agree on the points but come to the opposite conclusion?
  • The 360 is a near 1:1 copy of a well established watch
  • Why do you own ten's of watches?
  • I would imagine that Google will eventually open up AW at some point but for the time being they want to make sure that the experience is more uniform and easy for app developers to work with. I also think it's presumptuous to think that the watch market has such a huge overlap with the smartwatch market, I haven't worn a watch in over 15 years but I really want a (more mature) smartwatch. The bezel argument for smartwatches is completely different than regular watches, the bezel on regular watches is for design but that hurts the function of smartwatches.
  • I have two major problems with Android Wear at the moment (I've owned a G Watch and Moto 360).
    The first Google can't do much about. Some app devs have already made integrated versions of their apps, but most still haven't. For example, I'd love to have a version of Facebook on AW where I could read and reply to comments people have made, instead of just getting the notification. The second problem are the Google Now cards. Most of them are just awful. They look cartoonish and kitschy, and they especially look bad in contrast with a nice looking watch.
  • Give me a Moto 360 with AMOLED, 4k screen, SD820 and a continually atmospheric charging battery (never discharges) and we're in business. Posted via the Android Central App
  • One of the biggest problems with smart watches I see is the fact that smart watches came out right in the middle of the generation of younger people out there that do not and never have worn a watch because the smartphone in their pocket is there watch so to speak. I have a 24 year old daughter and a 21 year old son. Neither one of them has ever worn a watch and has no interest in it. Even their friends really never wore watches. I bought a moto 360 about a month after it came out last year. Both my son and daughter and their friends think it's cool, but they really just don't see a need for it because they have their phone on them all the time. So right now, I think the largest purchasers of Android smart watches are probably in the demographic being over 30 years old. So, I'm going to go out on a limb and say that a SmartWatch should actually be more of a device that provides additional functionality and complementary functionality to your phone rather than trying to be a watch first. Posted via Android Central App from a beautiful Ebony backed Original Moto X or the amazing Nexus 10
  • This makes me think of that kid spy movie where their super watches can't tell the time XD. I would love a smartwatch (I'm 20 years old) but the Moto360 isn't available in my country (South Africa) and the smartwatches that are, are terrible :/
  • Interesting. I haven't worn a watch in over 15 years, I'm 31 and am very interested in getting a smartwatch. I also have a 18 year old nephew who saved up and bought the apple watch the day it came out and uses it every day. I would like to see some actual numbers on our divergent views.
  • Google has been a terrible steward of new platforms. Pay, TV and social networking. Even Android is outside their control now as MORE devices DO NOT have Play store than actually do. I want AW to win but Google needs a leadership change.
  • I'm not quite ready to make the smartwatch jump. Posted via the Android Central App
  • +1 Check out the new Nexus!, not a Rick roll
  • A smart-watch of some kind is probably in my future - but not yet.
  • +1 Check out the new Nexus!, not a Rick roll
  • Never expected to read "Google" and "walled garden" in the same sentence. :p
  • I think smartwatches are in an interesting place right now and the potential is still what we're probably buying into. I think smartphones are reaching a sort of ubiquity and, smartwatches and wearables, being an extension platform of sorts for smartphones (at the moment) really highlights this. The way notifications work for all smartphones sort of dictates how the experience is felt on smartwatches. I think there may be a huge jumping point in the next couple of years, either through technology, software or ecosystem. Not so much a killer app per se but something that just clicks everything into place. Whatever happens, I'm interested in the ride as much as the destination.
  • i still can't see the difference between Huawei watch and moto 360.. at least from far away. unless i can see the flat tire on moto 360.. i can't tell the difference.
  • I wish the moto 360 had an AMOLED screen, then I would pick it over the Huawei any day, but now I don't know what I want :/
  • A question to Russell and all Smart Watch users: If you had to give it up and NEVER buy another; have you really lost something indispensable, or just saved yourself lots of cash? Smart Phones have become indispensable to most of us. Tablets are just useful for some of us, some of the time. But Smart Watches are really a gadget fad - still looking for a USP to justify existence after 3 years! So far only the Pebble had even marginal appeal for me; it faded fast. Why would you EVER need one? Serious question. Awesome AC.
  • I would say, smartwatches can be compared to cellphones that are also something of convenience. You could call from a landline which is close to your cellphone but it's more convenient to call from or text from your phone. Some places there may not have been a landline, so you had to use your cellphone. So too smartwatches are something of convenience, just look at your wrist for the time and notifications (which you check your phone for the most). Although your phone is in your pocket, it's more convenient to just glance at your wrist. 10 years ago I wouldn't think that smartphones would be a necessity, but things change. Who knows...
  • I believe that phones as much as we think we can't live without them will be replaced eventually by some kind if wearable tech. Be it a watch/ bracelet that will/can connect wirelessly to audio imbeded speakers that are everywhere and project like screen mirroring to pocket roll up screens that are 2-4 k when we need them. As much as we are hung up on the current form factor. I believe this will change very quickly and companies not afraid to experiment and brave open minded people like us will drive the evolution. Current phones are antisocial. The smart watches that we just glance at are helping a new generation to stop walking down the road staring at their phones. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Answering your question: I will not have lost something indispensable. The same can be said of my smartphone though. I rely heavily on both of them throughout the day but neither of them would break me if they were taken away. I would find another way of getting things done. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Completely see your point. For the majority it is hard to justify having a watch. For me, I have gotten into a habit of checking notifications on my watch, just a turn of the wrist, instead of picking up my phone, turning it on, swiping down to see the whole message, then possibly get distracted by other things or apps on the phone when I was just intending to check a notification really quickly. On my watch I check the notification and either reply or not, nothing else. Makes me as a busy person that much more focused and efficient. Might be marginal from some perspectives but works for me.
  • I have had the original LG G watch for more than a year. To be honest, when it does break i have no plans on buying a replacement. For me it just doesn't do anything special and i don't see the value in owning one. Posted via the Android Central App
  • The value of owning one is subject to each person. I have both android ware and Sammy watch best thing about my tizen watch is the battery i regularly get 3 to 4 days on a charger. I think these things are misunderstood they are not ment to replace your phone there just extensions to it . What my watch does is allows me to quickly check notifications missed calls emails music selector and fitness watch all in one. Apps are fine but I don't need all of them most or clunky at Best. If you are watching person then the smart watches are a natural like myself I have 8 regular watches plus two smart ones been waring them all my life. In my working environment pulling out my phone is not always easy so to me the smart watches is a God send answering calls on my tizen when on my motorcycle when my phone is in my pocket priceless Posted via the Android Central App
  • Exactly this......except for the need for a 3 day battery. Charging it every night is actually better for me and my need for routine. Things I only need to charge every few days invariably tend to run out of juice at inopportune times for me because I forget to charge them at a regular interval (i.e. my Jaybird Bluebud X headphones). Posted via the Android Central App
  • Card UI sucks on a watch they definitely need to refine that..
  • I think Android Wear is absolutely stagnant. Much of this has to do with the fact that Google committed hard and fast to something that should have remained an experiment. They also took the Apple approach, without (IMO) having the same level of thoughtfulness or vertical integration that Apple brings to bear on a problem. Instead, they took the 1990s Microsoft approach of throwing together an OS and then having the OEMs put a shiny facade on it. This is a big problem for the OEMs, as they essentially run around trying to one-up each other on the wrapper around the same stale Operating System. The incessant swiping is something that no OEM can do anything about. So, Android Wear is basically down to: Do you like a round face? Do you like a square face? Do you like a watch that is X millimeters thick or Y millimeters thick? Do you like a watch that is X millimeters wide or Y millimeters wide? Do you like 1 day of battery life, or 1.5 days of battery life? Do you like flat tires with no bezels or bezels with no flat tire? How tedious. Android Wear is incredibly stagnant, and most of the problems were created by Google themselves by trying to out think Apple when it comes to simplicity of experience and think that all you need is swiping. I want some hardware buttons - and watches are well suited to them. I don't want to obscure the screen, something that Samsung took note of from Apple - and should have been a big "of course!" when someone attempted to use Android Wear for the first time. And the card interface? Obnoxious at best, cartoonish at worst. Just yesterday I was using Google Maps on my watch (Zenwatch) for Turn by Turn directions. For some reason Google decided that it was unimportant to put the ... time ... on the map... for a ... watch. So guess what? I had to either look at my car's clock(!) or look at my phone's(!) to get the time(!). This is what amateur hour looks like, folks. For all of these reasons and more, I am very much looking forward to the Gear S2.
  • Those are good points and I my add the because samsung controls the watch and the phone soft ware is one of the reasons there watches just work so seamless together kind of not unlike apple . I hoping they cheap the price in check on the gear s2 Posted via the Android Central App
  • Very good points. At this point, I have tried most of the smartwatch platforms. I genuinely think that a solely touch-screen interface is flawed. I really liked the idea of the Gear S2 with its bezel input, but, sadly, that Samsung device wouldn't work with my Samsung phone. I got to stare at the setup screen for two days before returning it unused. Despite its own limitations, I keep coming back to my Pebble as my daily wear. I think this is mostly down to the ease of use—and mostly because of the buttons. It just makes more sense. Whenever I strap on my Android watch (Zenwatch 2), I'm always struck by how fiddly and high-maintenance it is. The endless swiping gets old quickly. Not to mention the incredibly annoying accidental triggers when you touch the watch with another part of your body. I'm not sure what is the optimum answer to a smartwatch interface, but I am sure that Android Wear isn't it. Overall, I think that all makers need to take a step back, stop trying to cram ever more unnecessary functionality into their devices, and put their effort into creating an efficient and lithe interface which gets the basics right. Most interactions with a smartwatch are short and mostly reactive. That should be the starting point, and anything else added before addressing that is just adding to the mess.
  • No thanks. I see no compelling reason to own one. I'll stick with my G Shock.
  • So basically you can decide what style and what company you want your watch from, but no matter what you choose you still get extremely limited functionality in a clunky, thick package. Or you can get a Tizen watch with more apps, an arguably better interface, far better battery life, but limited handset support if you don't have a late model Samsung phone. The technology really is not ready for prime time.
  • Nah, Google isn't doing this intentionally they are just being lazy. When they see how well the S2 does they will finally say, "golly gee maybe we do need to include sim support , a hee a hee."
  • I have to disagree with Russell and say AW is stagnant and is nothing more than a glorified notification center on my wrist at this time. The card interface is definitely stagnant and I find that my Gear S offers more function than any AW device and does way more than than AW an it was out before AW. The fact that I can Browse the web on my wrist, do maps, reply to notification and run other apps on my gears S puts google to shame. Lastly the fact that I can run my current Gear S by itself without a phone and it remotely communicates and carries notifications from my smartphone tells me to not even bother with android wear. I guess that's why my SSW 3 has been given away as it wasn't worth the time to use.
    We see once again Samsung is not going with AW for there new watch but Tizen that does more and provides way more function.
    I think Google will have to totally redesign AW from the beginning as it is dead in the water as of right now.
  • As someone who is looking to buy his first smart watch, I am having a difficult time deciding whI checked watch I want. The new Moto 360 and Huawei watch are very similar in features, good looks and price. I am curious what the cost of the Gear S2 will be. I like the IP68 rating and the reported fitness tracking capabilities, but so many negative comments on these blogs about Tizen has me second guessing the watch. Price could be a definite factor. I like the idea of a watch that looks classy while also being a good fitness tracker. And then there is also the idea of buying the 1st generation Moto 360 at a great price. It's been difficult reading all the articles about the new watches and waiting for all the news and reviews while trying to decide which one to get and having an itch to own and use one.
  • Android Wear is not dead, but it is deliberately kept numb by Google in order to not affect their ad revenue. If you could do a lot with Android Wear, you wouldn't use your phone as much, so you wouldn't click on ads as much. That's why I am planning to switch to Tizen and Samsung Gear S2. They proved that a smartwatch can be way smarter than what Android Wear makes you believe.