Saturday, 9 May 2015

Silence is golden

One of the unexpected things I love about my Smartwatch is the fact that my phone is now silent. It stays in the silent state throughout the day and night. When I need to action something it comes through as a vibration on my wrist.  This makes my life calmer although it might appear strange to others that I keep checking my wrist. It is especially useful when I receive a call as my wrist has a constant set of vibrations so I know it is not another type of notification.

Sunday, 3 May 2015

A good app

Thought I would give a heads up to what I regard as a good app.

For me a good app has to work as expected, do what you want it to, have the ability to configure things so that you can make the experience your own and be cheap enough to warrant consideration.

There are a lot of really good apps out there which are worth spending a few pennies on but the one I am thinking about is Textra.

Textra is a simple intuitive SMS texting app. it allows you to add emojis with an add on surprisingly called Textra SMS iOS Emojis as well as allowing various levels of configuration.  Most importantly the app is free to try and 61p to buy, so it will not break the bank. The app automatically adds photos from your Google account to match the people who are texting and there are options for quick compose and default signature as well as the ability to delay sending something.  All of these features and the ability to have a dark background or light one make the app a winner in my book.

Android Wear - is it worth it?

With the release of the Apple watch it is claimed that this watch has 3000+ apps which can work on it now, so how does Android wear compare?

Android Wear

Android wear is the operating system for android smartwatches. It is a pared down version of the full Android system and allows apps to use the watch.  The Smartwatch itself allows the apps to show notifications as well as start and stop apps on your Android phone.

Android Wear is tied to the Android system currently, as the AppleWatch is tied to the Apple iPhone 6 currently.

Android wear does have a few apps of its own as well as some basic games, most notable of which is a space invaders game as well as some bespoke fitness apps including my favourite app FitCloud which is a great app for cyclists and runners as it keeps a track of your whereabouts through GPS and can log the whole event with details such as Start and finish times, Average speed, Max Speed, Average Pace, Max Pace,Distance,Duration, Average Moving Speed, Average Moving Pace, Min/Max Altitude, Loss.Gain, Min/Max Gradient, Average Heart Rate and Max Heart Rate, Average Cadence and Track Points.

The key to Android Wear is using the built in devices in the Android Smartwatch such as the heart rate monitor and also using apps on your smart phone such as the  GPS app to bring hear rate and location data together.

Is there any difference between Android Wear Smartwatches and Apple watches?

Yes, There are relatively few apps on the Android Wear Play store.  Most of the store is full of watch faces, which are fun to have but do not enhance the functionality of the Smartwatch itself.

That said, I prefer the Android Smartwatch customisation ability as well as the ability to make your own custom watch faces with apps such as Facer. I am waiting for the new Android 5.1 update for the watch to come through and will write more on it then.

More fitness apps

Fitness is difficult at best when you are by yourself and your job is a static one.
Although I still use Virtual Gym as mentioned in a previous post, I now use a range of apps on my phone more and all come from one maker which is Runstastic.  The joy of these apps is they push you.  I started with the cycling app Runstastic Road Bike which is a great app for cyclists allowing you to plot your route, speed, gradient etc. basically most of the main things you need when you cycle.

I have the Pro versions of the apps as this opens more features than the lite version and they are not too expensive. I like looking at the history to see the progress that I have made, which could be in distance or speed or just the amount of rides I have done that week/month/year.

I also have since downloaded a number of their other apps including their squats, push ups and sit ups apps which are great for interval training and set you achievable progressive challenges.  Using the apps I have achieved more sit ups and squats than I ever thought I could do, so the apps work for me. Again I enjoy the fact I can see the progress and the exercise routines are short enough to squeeze into the busiest days.

Google Play had an offer of a free Runstastic Pro main apps which is also recommended as you can do all sorts of sports and have the app record your progress.

There are drawbacks with some of the apps such as they do not yet share information between the apps so you can do a work out on one app and it is not recognised by the other.  This is especially the case as the main Runtastic Pro app is connected to the Google Fit app which allows your record of achievements to be stored on your android devices.