We know it’s still a week or two before people will start receiving their Android Wear smartwatches, at least for those of you that have ordered yourselves an LG G Watch or a Samsung Gear Live. While you’re waiting you’ve probably already read plenty of reviews and checked out people’s hands on opinions and first impressions of both devices, and if you read any of that before placing your order it may have ended up leading you to your decision of which one to get. The way Android Wear works is pretty simple and using it won’t be a difficult thing to do, but it’s always good to have a little handle on things before hand so we’ll aim to give you a quick rundown of how things work.
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First of all, Android Wear mirrors the notifications from the device it’s connected to. It’s as simple as that. Past those mirrored notifications it also has Google Now cards integrated, which you’ll get notifications for as well. This includes things like the weather cards or even navigation info, like routes that I use during cycling for example. Cards like that will pop up displaying the appropriate information and then with a quick swipe to the left you can reveal the route on a small image of the map. Swiping right of course for any notifications will dismiss them on the watch, as well as on the phone it’s connected to. The way notifications work are easy and simplistic, but they may trip people up from time to time at first. From my brief experience with the Gear Live so far, not all notifications can be opened up on the watch, which is OK so long as you make a point to remember which ones you can and can’t readily interact with directly from the watch itself. Hangouts for example will allow you to tap on those mirrored notifications and read most of or all the text within a given message and even a small portion of the prior messages within that thread, and the ability to reply to it afterwards all through the voice typing on the watch. G+ notifications however will simply open up the app on the phone for you to interact with it if you want to leave a comment or a +1 on any posts.
Emails are fully capable of being interacted with through the watch whether it be an initiated email that you send or one that you’re replying to, SMS messages are another story as the notifications “reply” feature will only open up the app when you tap it. That is unless of course you use Hangouts as your default SMS app, then even replying to SMS messages can be done using the voice typing feature. We know that notifications can be a bit daunting especially if you have all of them coming to your watch consistently throughout the day. Dismissing them is easy enough, but the Android Wear application that is installed on your device will give you the ability to blacklist certain apps from mirroring notifications to the watch if you wish. This is called “muting” and will block those notifications from showing up on the watch entirely. Unfortunately this will be the only option for certain apps notifications, but it might be better than having your watch vibrate every few minutes. You can also mute the notification sound for your device if you don’t want it to sound off, which can be helpful if you’ll be interacting with it on the watch anyway. Have any questions about Android Wear? Feel free to leave them in the comments!