Wednesday , October 18 2017

A working week without Android Wear

Moto-X-Moto-360-AU-Launch-360Wrist

For those of you who follow me on Twitter you’ll probably be aware that I spent a week interstate (Melbourne) recently for my paid employment. As something to keep me occupied (outside the long days for work) I decided to swap my Moto 360 for my “old school” business watch and see how I felt about it at the end of the week. The idea was born out of curiosity to see how much I was actually using Android Wear and not realising it.

It took me a long time to really get onboard and actually commit to using Android Wear. I struggled with questions that many people ask me when talking about Android Wear: “do I buy a 1st generation device?”, “what if I buy X device and Y comes out next week, I’ll be disappointed” and “Do I really need it?”.

Day 1

It was less than an hour into the experiment and my wife was already laughing at me, on the way to the airport; yes, I hadn’t even left South Australia yet – and a notification went off in my pocket. Not realising I’d done it immediately, I glanced at my wrist to check what it was and had a sudden realisation. This was going to be a long week.

Once I arrived at my destination, the next few hours was a bit of a blur; we had to setup a training room with a closed network environment for some software training. I barely had time to scratch myself, so didn’t (at least for that period of time) miss Android Wear. When we finished work for the evening and were looking for a good dinner near our location I didn’t just miss my Android Wear, I yearned for it. Just to say “Italian restaurants are near my location”, pick one, open Maps and off we go.

Day 2

After a late night preparing for the day ahead I gracefully fell out of my hotel bed, crawled to the shower and got moving. Looking sharp I went off to grab some brekky and head over to the training centre for the day. But again, I found myself glancing at my wrist to check what the notifications were; despite having setup notifications differently for my various email accounts and social media, there is still that compulsion to know who’s talking to you, about you and about what.

Day 2 was the worst day because I’d started to realise just how much I was missing my Moto 360, then went out and caught up with a couple of the Ausdroid team members who I only ever see when I’m in Melbourne; Scott and Geoff. Scott, sporting the LG Urbane which he’d just finished reviewing, was more than happy to remind me just how good Android Wear is and why I was a fool to leave mine at home.

Day 3

Groundhog day. The same kind of day as yesterday. Another day of training, another day of not being able to discretely check my messages, email and other notifications that I get and like to check regularly. It’s amazing how quickly we get used to being always on connected and how difficult it can be to switch off an disconnect for a while.

Another day interstate, another catch up dinner with someone who I rarely see due to the tyranny of distance. This time a fanboy, not one of us, one of them… He had the nerve to ask me if I had an Apple watch! No, No I don’t… God I miss my Android Wear. With the checking of notifications throughout the day today, I found that my phone battery is really struggling, not needing to light up the phone screen all the time to do so has made me realise that my Moto 360 is actually good for the battery life on my phone.

Day 4

The same morning as Day 3. This was getting repetitive. I’m actually starting to get used to not having my Moto 360 sitting next to me when I wake up now, seeing the screen light up invitingly when I take it off the charger in the morning and strap it to my wrist.

I’m even getting used to my old attitude of “I’ll check that in a minute” then forgetting to check what the notification was until later when I look at my phone and realise that I probably should have checked that an hour earlier. I’ve realised how much subconscious habit is involved with having an Android Wear device on your wrist, it’s helping you stay connected and informed but you don’t necessarily realise how often you’re using it.

Where I really would have loved to have my 360 with me today would have been when it was approaching time to head for the airport and grab my flight home. I couldn’t remember what time my flight was, not being a local to Melbourne the route to the airport was foreign to me and worst of all I’ve heard about rush hour in Melbourne. So when do I need to leave? Lucky for me, I had a local who late afternoon offered to run me to the airport and avoid that hassle; I made my flight and got home a bit before 11pm much to the delight of my wife.

Day 5

I’m back home in my own bed, with my family and my androi…

Dammit, I was going to go a working week without it. I can last one more day right?

Back to my familiar office, with my workmates, my desk, my PC and my routine which was really strangely disorganised without my calendar notifications for meetings and scheduled teleconferences popping up on my wrist. The extra screen-on time for my phone with these things has led to me needing to give my phone a little top up charge in the car on the way home, yet still be desperately low on battery come 10pm.

So you probably guessed that this isn’t the most serious of articles I’ve ever written for Ausdroid, but yes I did go a full working week without Android Wear; my Moto 360 lay untouched from Monday to Friday and oh boy was it a happy reunion on Saturday morning when I got out of bed. It was a bit of an experiment (as earlier mentioned) I decided to do just to see how much I was subconsciously using it to stay connected and how much I was actually relying on it for various things.

At the end of it all, I came to the realisation that while it’s not an outright necessity in my daily life; having notifications and the ability to perform a number of extremely useful functions on my wrist have become a part of my daily life and that it’s really quite stunning how many times during the day I would be grabbing my phone out of my pocket to check notifications if I didn’t have the Moto 360. Further to this, the extra times that you’re not grabbing your phone and checking it is depleting your battery more than you realise. Knowing that the last vibration in your pocket was just a personal email on your Gmail account, it can wait – makes a difference come the end of the day.

If you’re still thinking about getting onboard with Android Wear, I’d whole heartedly recommend you do it; jump in neck deep because it won’t be until your Android Wear isn’t there that you realise just how good it really is.

 

Phil Tann   Journalist

Phil is an Android enthusiast who spends most of his time reading up on U.S. Android news so he can get the low down on what could possibly hit Australian shores. Coming from a background in IT & T sales, he’s in the perfect position to give an educated view on hardware and software.

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6 Comments on "A working week without Android Wear"

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Derek Osborn
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Derek Osborn

@Phil was good catching up on “day 3” 🙂

Did I seriously expect you to have an Apple Watch? …. nup, but I knew you’d have something. 😀

craigo
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Would have thought the bluetooth connection to the watch would have drained the battery more than flicking the screen on to check notifications. Unless you’re flicking the screen on every 5 minutes. 😉

Member

One of my big concerns when I got a smartwatch (originally a Sony SW2 with my Nexus 5, now a ZenWatch with my OnePlus One) was the extent to which the Bluetooth connection would drain my phone’s battery. But well over a year’s experience has demonstrated that the impact is so negligible as to not be worth mentioning and easily overshadowed by the battery gain from fewer casual phone wake ups checking notifications.

Jeff Penver
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Jeff Penver

Bluetooth 4.0 is also known as Bluetooth Low Energy for good reason.

JeniSkunk
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JeniSkunk

A brilliant article, Phil.
It REALLY brings home just how much you DO come to rely upon a tool or service, once you have a consistent ongoing use for it.

David Wiener
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David Wiener

For me Android Wear = work. Just like my work phone, I take it off on the weekends and sit it aside on my tall boy. I then wear a ‘non-smart’ watch. I understand the missing the notifications bit, all too true.

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