Smart watches are one of the wearables categories that I am betting will make it pretty big, pretty fast. And the reason is not far to seek: As I had pointed out in another blog post, smart watches can provide an important and unique benefit as they are upon us all the time – they can notify us of important things better than anything else, better than even a smart phone can. In addition, of course, smart watches can perform a whole many other nifty things too.
Many think that 2015 will belong to smart watches than any other wearable technologies. It is difficult to disagree, what with Android Wear having flying ambitions and more important, the Apple Watch round the corner.
In addition to design, what will drive smart watch growth is the apps ecosystem for the apps. This is where things are getting interesting.
Admittedly, the smartwatch apps are at a nascent stage, and it will take a year or two before the WhatsApp of smartwatches emerges. But it is not as if there are no great smartwatch apps now.
I thought I’d spend some time digging up the range of apps available right now to see what could be my top ten.
Based on this, here are ten smartwatch apps I think will really rock:
Maps (esp Google Maps)
It’s fairly intuitive that maps are things that are gonna be a hit on smart watches. It is surely a lot easier to refer to a watch, rather than a smartphone, for directions, isn’t it?
Sure, smart watches have to ensure that they are able to show valuable directions within the small area available, but I think the smart watch guys are getting there.
For instance, Google’s built-in mapping for Android Wear works surprisingly well for walking directions, vibrating when it’s time to take another street complete with on-screen directions.
Notes (Evernote or Google Keep)
Unlike directions, taking notes might not be in everyone’s priority, but look at it this way. Rather than considering taking notes using a watch, how about a watch displaying checklists and notes. Will be quite handy, surely?
For instance, Google’s free Evernote competitor, Keep, puts notes and lists on your wrist – great for shopping lists
Aggregated updates from other devices
This one is surely going to be a hit with those who are wedded to social media and other connected networks. It will be real cool and easy to read aggregated updates on your watch. It looks much less out of place than checking your mobile for every update, especially if you are in the middle of formal meetings.
SmartWatch Universal IM for instance collates all notifications from your different IM accounts – it’s Facebook Messenger, Skype, WhatsApp, Google Voice, and more all rolled into one … who said we all couldn’t just get along?
The app that let’s your browse the web from your SmartWatch– it’s how you know the future has arrived.
This one is a no-brainer as well, though its utility will vary from person to person. Someone like me, who does not even use WhatsApp because I rarely chat with anyone, might not find it of any use, but hey, I know I’m in a very small minority.
WhatsApp Alerts will be a must-have for WhatsApp addicts
A flashlight on your smart watch will be even more useful than its presence in a smart phone. Simply because we will have our watch on us all the time, or at least a very large portion of all the time, and you never know when you could require a flashlight.
Lost in the dark or can’t find your keys at the bottom of your bag? Just click on the flashlight icon on your SmartWatch. Sorted.
If you’re a regular jogger then glancing down at your watch for statistics and goals is much easier than fiddling with your phone, as Runtastic’s features prove: easy, one-tap operation, a glanceable display with all of the details of your run as you go, and the ability to start and stop runs with your voice.
Want to know where you are. Use this app.
@here is one of a few apps built specifically for Android Wear rather than Android as a whole, so I think it deserves a mention.
Launch the app via voice and it shows your current location and address, and can then open it up in Google Maps on your phone.
Voice to Text
Typing is going to be difficult if not a nightmare in a smart watch. So anything that makes it easy to make text on smart watches is gonna be useful.
For example the app Bunting lets you to use your smartwatch’s microphone, and lets you compose and send tweets by dictating them to your phone, and even includes hashtag support.
Something not yet there, but could be really useful
A Real-Time Translator
Travelling in another country and need to have a conversation, you can turn it on and have it listen
The above is my take on the hot smartwatch categories that will make it big in 2015.
Cofounder & Director at EAI, a cleantech firm. Also cofounded Geeks.Gallery, along with my tech team who are developing some cool apps in the domains of cleantech and sustainable health.
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