The Android Wear app ecosystem is small but growing. Google says the apps now number in the thousands. However, as most smartphone users know, with apps it’s about quality, not quantity, particularly in those first few weeks and months when you’re just getting a feel for your new device. There’s nothing worse than shelling out a couple of hundred dollars for a shiny new gadget only for it to sit there taunting you with its apparent lack of utility. Here are the apps that every Android Wear user should download on day one.
With such a small screen, there isn’t a whole lot of real estate for displaying apps. It’s not a huge deal, as these apps can easily be accessed from within the various menus on your watch, but we quickly grew tired of the process, which feels unnecessarily laborious. Android Wear Mini Launcher comes to the rescue with access to all of you apps as well as settings, like brightness, WiFi, and more.
The whole point of owning and wearing a smartwatch is that you don’t need to reach into your pocket or purse and pull out your phone. A byproduct of that is that you can sometimes go a whole day without even looking at your phone. If you’re at home, you might even find yourself wondering where the heck you last saw it. Find My Phone turns on your phone’s ringer so you can find it before you need to leave the house.
Evernote’s purpose is to gather your life’s work in one space that is accessible from anywhere on any device. Given this mission, it’s no surprise that the company was one of the first developers of apps for Android Wear. This was another app that made an appearance at Google I/O, when Android Wear was officially introduced to the public. The app allows you to create notes using the “OK Google, take a note” command as well as view notes on your watch. Perhaps the most useful feature: the ability to check off items on a to-list just by tapping them. You can also create new to-do lists using voice commands.
PayPal used to just be about paying for your eBay purchases but the web payments company has evolved well beyond that in the last few years. The company’s watch app is a perfect example of how PayPal is changing as a company. PayPal for Android Wear allows you to check in to pay at local businesses and also allows you to check your balance and receive payment notifications. The app will also tell you about deals that are available at businesses near by.
All the cooks is a cooking community app that allows people to share recipes and photos of food with other users. All The Cooks for Android Wear actually made it onto the Google I/O stage when Google was demoing Android Wear earlier this summer. Recipes are synced to your watch so you can access them on your wrist without having to worry about your phone taking a dive into the sink or moving your tablet out of the way as things get messier.
This is one of the apps Google side loaded onto our watch at Google I/O from the word go. It doesn’t offer a ton of extra functionality (you still swipe left and right for yes or no) but fans of Tinder will now receive notifications of matches right on their wrist, so you can message matches ASAP and let them know you’re interested in a date.
Now that your watch has secured you a date for the evening, it’s time to brush up on your Spanish. Or was it French you were learning? DuoLingo is another one of the first Android Wear app developers and offers foreign language exercises right on your wrist. Our favourite part of this app is that you don’t have to talk into your wrist (unlike the phone version of DuoLingo). So many Android Wear apps bank on your being okay with barking into your wrist no matter what the situation. DuoLingo just gives you time to come up with your answer (we guess you could say them out loud if you really wanted to) before telling you the answer and asking if your answer was correct.
The LG G Watch and the Gear Live both have an integrated pedometer. The Gear Live will even tell you your heart rate if you want. If you’re a runner, there’s a good chance you’ll want more than basic step counting functionality, though. Runtastic was updated with Android Wear support a couple of months back and allows you to look at your stats on your wrist. You can also start a run or bike activity via voice command and display your post-workout session details, including maps, on your watch.
Your Android Wear experience wouldn’t be complete without some form of entertainment and 2048 is one of the most popular games of the last six months, so it makes sense that it arrive on Android Wear. Right? No? Okay, just us then.