I Have High Hopes for One Plus

I hope the One Plus One Two has a white front option along with the white back. I’d also would like to have a 64gb white phone. I didn’t get on the One+ train this year, giving them a year to grow and figure out the bottlenecks BUT I have high hopes for their future. I think the impending release of Android L will give us a good idea about how quickly they can get updates out and bug fixes. When I look around at the state of Android flagships (disregard price entirely) I like what One Plus is doing with 3gb of ram, and from what I can tell a great contender of a camera.

I Need An Aggregator App That Does This…

If someone made a personal aggregator library that allowed you to see all your Google Drive docs, Dropbox files, Evernote notes, and Pinterest pins I would probably pay a significant annual fee for that. It can’t just display those items in separate silos I need to be able to search across all of them at once AND organize items from one service and another into folders/collections.

Android Wear – One Month In

It’s now been a month since I received my LG G Watch in the mail and I thought I’d take a few minutes to give my overall impressions; what’s good, what’s bad, and where there’s room for improvement.

The Good

The thing that I’ve loved most about Android Wear has been its most obvious feature; I don’t have to pull my phone out of my pocket. If you get one thing out of this review it’s that after 30 days not having to pull my phone out of my pocket as much is worth the price tag. That might seem like a small feature but it’s altered my interactions with my phone, people around me, and my environment in profound ways. I think this is exactly what Google meant to solve. I can just glance down at my wrist; decide if a notification is important enough to read right there, swipe away, or take a quick action like archive email or reply via voice. I’m able to pay more attention to who I am with and what I’m doing, and it makes me happy because I don’t have to constantly pull my phone in and out of my pocket (I have the HTC One M8 it’s a large phone).

When I’m at the grocery store and need to ask a question or check a recipe, just raise wrist and speak. If I need directions somewhere I can do the same. Tell my wife I’m on my way home whilst riding a bike is now painless.

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My big take away for the future is that the Android Wear smart watch is a must have for any one that has a 5+ inch phone. They compliment each other perfectly.

The Bad

Not all is great with Android Wear. Some of my complaints might be hardware specific, I’ll know more in a few weeks when I get my Moto 360.

My biggest complaint is that the “Okay Google” hot-word detection isn’t especially good when doing something physical like riding a bike. Sometimes the voice detection when dictating a reply just does not work; it’s certainly not as good as doing a voice reply directly on my Android device.

Hangouts support is a joke. Sure you can see messages that people send you, and yes you can navigate over and reply to a message. What you can not do is…

  1. Initiate a new hangout message from the watch and…
  2. Reply by voice; you have to tap reply on the notification card. It would be better if you raised your watch up, saw the notification, and said reply – then your message.

No Uber support as of yet. Look, Google is a major stakeholder in Uber via Google Ventures. So I expect some synergy with that relationship. Lyft was available day one… why is Uber not available a month in?

Lastly, I’d like more detail in my voice commands. Right now if I say “Get directions to Union Station” it gives me driving directions. Problem there is I don’t have a car. What’s odd about this is Google Now knows this about me. It knows I take Metro and bike almost everywhere. I expect Android wear to know this as well. At the very least I expected conditionals like “I need cycling directions to Union Station” or “I need Metro(or just public transit) directions to Taylor Gourmet near Gallery Place” to work out of the box; they did not.

The same goes for music. All you can say at this point is “Play music” which just shuffles and plays music. I’d like the ability to specify artist or playlist or at least a genre.

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These are obviously minor quibbles. But they really take you out of the experience.

I have high hopes for the future of Android Wear, especially the upgrades to Wear that Android L hopefully brings. Obviously I’d like to see the issues that I have with wear ironed out sooner than later. The future of Android wear is bright so long as Google continues to speed up voice recognition and improve its accuracy. It’s so close to perfect, it just needs more polish. Which is odd that I feel it needs more polish because there are so many areas that are so smart. For example if you raise your watch your phone disables the “Okay google” hot-word… brilliant.