The Moto 360, Samsung Gear Live or LG G Watch/G Watch R bring Android to your wrist thanks to Google’s Android Wear. These watches run a dumbed down form of Android, which recently received an update to Android 5.0 Lollipop.
The update brings an advanced API that lets developers do more on the watch. In honor of the update, here’s a list of the 10 best Android Wear Watch Apps that you should install today.
These great apps don’t include watch faces. Instead check our list of the 20 Best Android Wear Watch Faces to make your Android Wear Watch more attractive or useful. These apps bring extra functionality or ease of use to the Android Wear Watch and fun.
Wear Store for Android Wear
Before we jump into the Android Wear Watch Apps, lets start with Wear Store for Android Wear (Free). The app lists Android Wear Watch Apps to make them easier to find. A user can search for Android Wear in the Google Play Store and find apps, but this app does the searching for you and collects them into categories like the Play Store does. Open the app on the phone to see the newest apps or newly updated apps. Then check out apps in categories like Entertainment, Social, Communication and more. They also group apps chosen by the developers in a Dev’s Choice category. There’s also a User’s Choice category that grabs apps based on user reviews making it easier to find the best or most popular Android Wear Watch Apps. The app looks just like the Google Play Store. Tapping on an app shows the Play Store info and links to the app in the store so the user can download it from the Play Store.
Wear App Manager
Once a user installs a bunch of great Android Wear Watch Apps, finding them can get difficult on the phone. A user could create a folder with all their watch apps or use Wear App Manager ($.99). The app organizes all the user’s Wear apps installed on the phone to make the apps easier to find quickly.
Some apps offer Android Wear capabilities, but the user might not know it. For example, my favorite SMS app integrates with Android Wear. Users of Go SMS Pro may not know the app includes Wear functionality. Wear App Manager will help people find out that some of their phone apps also include watch capabilities.
Open Wear App Manager on the phone and it lists all the Wear apps installed on the phone. Tap on an app and it shows a screen that offers information about the app’s size and permissions (see above). It also puts a link to the Google Play Store. The user can uninstall or open the app from Wear App Manager.
Wear Mini Launcher
Most Android Wear Watch Apps get launched by the user’s voice, but that’s not always convenient in every situation, like in a meeting, church service or classroom where speaking to the watch distracts others annoying the people nearby. Instead, Wear Mini Launcher (Free) opens Android Wear Watch Apps by swiping from the edge of the Android Wear Watch screen. The launcher shows all the apps on a two-column grid. Tap the app’s icon to launch the app. It’s like a Windows Start Menu on the Android Wear watch screen.
Duolingo: Learn Languages Free
Duolingo launched when Android Wear launched and it still offers one of the most interesting uses for an Android Wear watch for something other than notifications, fitness tracking and time management. The app helps users learn a language and integrates with Android Wear. The app developer says, “Learn Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, Italian, Dutch, Irish, Danish, and English…” for free.
The app and the watch app turns learning a language into a game. Get translation questions right and win; get them wrong and lose points. The app pauses and shows progress along the way.
Torque for Bing Voice Assistant
People who like Bing can now get their voice search on their Android Wear Watch thanks to Torque for Bing Voice Assistant (Free), an Android App for the phone that also includes watch integration. Twist the wrist and the app springs to life, ready for a voice command or search. It uses the Cortana-style engine that Windows Phone users love so much. Find out about weather, search the web, look for restaurants nearby or almost anything that one can do with Bing.
Wear Battery Stats
Many Android Wear Watch Faces integrate a battery indicator, but not all of them do. Wear Battery Stats (Free) will come to the rescue, showing the user their watch’s battery life percentage plus a graph of power usage over the day. Some in-app purchases unlock a few of the features, but it’s usable for free. Use it to see which apps drain the battery the most to help troubleshoot battery issues. Get a notification when the battery level dips below a certain level, or the app can estimate when it will run out.
Guns ‘n’ Glory Heroes – Wear
One of the few fun games for Android Wear, Guns ‘n’ Glory Heroes – Wear ($.99) brings tower defense to the watch. The app lets the user fight against the orcs and knights while hurling spells at them to defeat them. Control the game on the touch screen of the watch. It’s fun enough to keep playing, it gives the player a short burst of entertainment while waiting in a line or to pick up a family member.
The best podcast app on Android or iOS comes from Shifty Jelly, the makers of Pocket Casts ($3.99). It helps users find, subscribe to and pay for video or audio podcasts. When the user pairs an Android Wear Watch to their phone and starts playing a podcast with Pocket Casts, the controls show up on the watch. Pause, skip, rewind or play the video or audio. The phone app syncs with the Shifty Jelly servers to back up the list of subscribed podcasts. This makes it easy to start a podcast on the phone, pause it, then start it again on a tablet or even on the iPhone or iPad version of the app. There’s also an online version for an extra fee.
TetroCrate: Android Wear Game
Think Tetris inside a crate where the player drops the shaped tiles down to create lines, instead of them dropping from the top of the screen to the bottom of the screen. That’s Tetrocrate, and now it’s available as Tetrocrate: Android Wear Game (Free). The game’s fun and doesn’t take a long time to play. It’s another great time waster for a few minutes as a break from a busy day.
Calendar for Android Wear
If you want to quickly find out what’s the date for next Tuesday, use Calendar for Android Wear (Free). To get daily or detailed calendar views, pay via in-app purchase. Tap on the day and it shows all the appointments on that day. Tap an appointment and it shows details of that appointment. The numbers look small on the month view calendar. If the user taps and the watch can’t tell which date the user tapped it will pop up a magnified grid. The larger numbers make it easier to tap to show a day’s appointments.