StreetHawk supports Android Wear (LG G Watch example)

Jul 9

StreetHawk supports Android Wear (LG G Watch example)

Getting into Wearables

Its no suprise that StreetHawk is staffed with Geeks and so its common to “wander off the path” and get interested in stuff thats just not relevent. We’ll call that therapy 🙂

On the surface Google’s announcement of the “Android Wear” SDK might seem pretty irrelevent to mainstream business but us geeks can justify buying a Watch is completely in-line with StreetHawk’s Engagement Automation mission!

Here is a few practical bullets about StreetHawk powered Apps work with Android Wear devices.


How does Android Wear fit into the Mobile Landscape?

The simplest way to think about “Wear” devices as an extra screen for your smartphone/tablet. An Android Wear Watch (for example the “LG G”) talks to your phone via BlueTooth LE (the same wireless signal that iBeacons use).

The next simplest way to think about a “Wear” Watch is that it provides a simple way to interact with Apps without:

  • dragging out your phone
  • unlocking the screen
  • dragging down the notification center
  • handle each notification by clicking into each app

With Wear the process is: “view the card” and swipe.

The next next 🙂 simplest way to think about a “Wear” Watch is that its an extension of the notification bar. Its much easier to glance at and ignore the most recent notification. This sounds like another way of repeating the first two points but its a less intrusive interuption to the day – this seems (to me) a VERY constructive innovation. I’ve not worn a watch since I was a wee lad but even though this ain’t stylish, I like the way I have less “beeps” in my life (when the phone is paired with the Watch it silences the updates that appear on the watch – instead I get a subtle vibration).

This is the configuration screen on the SmartPhone side – as you can see there is options for various Apps and you can opt-out of notifications you want get purely on your phone.



Where is it weak?

The usability is poor at the moment, Apple would never have released a user experience like what I’ve had on the this LG G. Its not a bad experience its just that there is no self-explanatory nature. It takes a while to understand the new metaphor which is “card” based.

Effectively this is the same as Google Now but with the Watch gestures of:

  • Swipe Up for the next card
  • Swipe Left for more options
  • Swipe Right to dismiss

Swipe Left is basically the Buttons that you might see on a push notification – it can be other things but this is. For those that have been following Android, the options provided for push are way better than on iOS. Buttons can perform rich actions without having to jump into the App. I’ve blogged about this before here (for the geeks I am talking about NotificationCompat).

What is really cool?

Here is a basic uncustomised App example on the watch – ignore my fingerprints 🙂

wear-message wear-later wear-dismiss wear-rate wear-open-on-phone
Notification Rate Later Option Dismiss Option Rate Option Open on Phone


This is pretty nice: any App with Push now has the ability to have a presence on Wear devices.

The last screenshot shows the final fallback of “Open on Phone” which gives compatibility for any App.

The really cool thing is that these Watch screens can be extended and I’ll put together an example of that for a future post. These screens display on the phone and one of the best examples today is Navigation.


What does this mean for Mobile App Engagement?

Reaching a user is now possible on the “Right Device”. The form-factor of the user experience is now richer, simpler and easier to filter with a simple “view and swipe”. So I think:

  • the benefit is good all-round (the cost of innovation is small)
  • Marketing Automation is probably less benefited because communications are occasional.
  • Transactional Automation:
    • no change for inApp engagement like things inside a game
    • huge benefit for Apps that transactionally (events) notify. e.g Social, Taxi App or any Workflow App where users are notified to interact lightly with the App based on some event. I’ll flesh this out more in a later post.


Update (1 day later)

I started to wonder how long I would keep wearing this bulky watch (I don’t wear watches, rings, necklaces, piercings etc), I’m itching to ditch it. But heres another reason why we will adopt wearables….
I love Spotify and I love my Pioneer Wifi speakers (they have Spotify and Pandora built-in) and they have a battery so you can just unplug and take them upstairs or outside. (But I digress).
I’m doing some work so I pick someone else’s Spotify playlist to have in the background – after a while I really like a track and wonder what it is. I glance at the watch and its telling me the current song and when I swipe it its got forward/back buttons on it – very nice. Normally I’d have to hunt around for the phone unlock it etc. This is a much more fluid experience.


So the StreetHawk team is very bullish on Wearables and the users experience – we’re not deluded that 20% of Android SmartPhone users will adopt these “Watches” over the next 12 months – but perhaps one vendor will produce a more beautiful form-factor/price-point that will create mass adoption – the Motorola Moto 360 is pretty but of course the elephant in the room is what Apple will do – they just recruited a senior guy from the Nike Fuel band team so they definately are headed in the same direction.



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