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Evolutionary advances in new smart wristwatches

/ 07:07 AM July 03, 2014
Google-Android-Wear

In this June 25, 2014 file photo, a man looks at the LG G Watch, an Android Wear smartwatch, on the demo floor at Google I/O 2014 in San Francisco. With Android Wear, software developers won’t have to rewrite apps every time a new watch from Samsung, Sony or another manufacturer comes out. And collectively, there might be enough smartwatch users to lure developers. AP

NEW YORK — New Android wristwatches from Samsung and LG make a few evolutionary advances, though I won’t be rushing out to buy either.

Samsung’s Gear Live and LG’s G Watch are good products and will appeal to those who like to be among the first to own new gadgets.

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The watches serve as pedometers and let you catch up on email, texts and Facebook notifications while your phone is in your pocket or charging in the bedroom. Even with the phone in your hand, you can check messages on the watch and keep playing video on the phone.

Both smartwatches try to keep things simple through voice commands rather than touch. They use Google’s Android Wear system, which I reviewed earlier.

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Android Wear has a lot of potential but still lacks the functionality of even last year’s smartwatches. Your ability to reply is limited, and there’s not much you can do yet without a companion phone nearby.

The companion phone must run Android 4.3 or later, which covers about a quarter of the Android devices in use. It doesn’t have to be a Samsung or LG phone. Visit http://g.co/WearCheck from your phone to check compatibility. Don’t even bother if you have an iPhone.

Even with its release of the Gear Live, Samsung will continue to sell the Gear 2 line of smartwatches, so I’ll start there.

TOPICS: Android 4.3, Android Wear, Gear 2 line, Gear Live, Samsung or LG phone, smart wristwatches
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