Google Wear fitness apps
Google's Android Wear smartwatches can solve everyone's pesky pedometer gripes, whether it's always losing the easy-to-misplace device or not having it with you at all times.
Latching a wearable to our wrist can count every step and chart whether or not we're meeting our exercise goals. Fitbit Force, Nike FuelBand SE, Jawbone Up24 and Samsung Gear Fit have all proven this.
Google Fit promises to aggregate data like heart rate, steps taken and blood glucose, and to connect with our favorite fitness apps for real-time speed, distance and time data while walking, running and cycling.
So far, Google's app underwhelmingly tracks steps, in the case of Samsung Gear Live and Moto 360, a semi-accurate heart rate. Motorola's Heart Rate Activity app just adds a extra motivational interface.
The app needs more metrics and really needs the graphs that break free of the watch interface. Why isn't this data on an Android or computer yet? Maybe we'll that launch with Android L.
The wait may be worth it. Fitbit Force and FuelBand lack smartwatch capabilities and, as stylish as the Gear Fit may be, it's only accessible by Samsung smartphones, not all Android devices.
That leaves the door wide open for Google among Android owners.
QR codes, music and Chromecast
Google's Android Wear multitasks you run for an already-boarding flight. You can keep count of calories burned while flashing a QR code in front of the airline employee in order to board the flight.
Music doesn't come directly from any current Android Wear smartwatch, though the Sony Smartwatch 3 is kick off housing songs on the wristwatch. All watches can still activate song playing via voice commands.
Google calls this a "key to a multiscreen world." Further out, it promises to cast movies to a TV, presumably with its inexpensive Chromecast streaming device, open garage doors with smart home connectivity.
"There's a lot of possibilities here so we're eager to see what developers build," wrote Pichai toward the end of his announcement post.
Third-party apps on Google Play
Android Wear is made even more convincing as a smartwatch because developers will be able to easily translate their apps from Google's mobile ecosystem.
There are now more than 44 featured Android Wear apps in the official subsection on the Google Play Store with the best coming directly from Google.
Maps makes it convenient to pull up walking directions or, if you're in the car, voice activate navigation to your dash-mounted smartphone without awkwardly leaning over into the steering wheel.
Hangouts beams text and instant messages to the wrist. It's one of the best features, as you can quickly dismiss trivial correspondents while getting a head start on the important ones.
Though we're waiting for an Uber app, Lyft can call cars with a simple voice phrase, Evernote can help you jot down thoughts, Hue Control can turn your lights on and off and Glympse can beam your location to friends.
Outside of the official apps, all notifications that appear in your smartphone's notification tray make their way to the smartwatch.
There are also apps and watch faces that don't appear in the Android Wear subsection, but work with the watches nonetheless. We particularly like the unofficial GoldenEye 007 watch face.
Ware Aware is also a developer-made top pick for us because it vibrates every time we accidentally walk away from our phone. It doesn't appear in Google's special subsection and it's clear third-party devs are moving quickly.
It shouldn't take long for your favorite apps to appear on the Moto 360, Samsung Gear Live or LG G Watch, whereas developers may struggle to navigate Samsung's Tizen platform that's limited to its Galaxy devices.