Android Wear – two WTFs and solutions

For the latest on this subject and Android Wear 5.1.1, see this post.

OK, I am a big fan of Android Wear. I have been delighted (Motorola product managers will love that word) with my new Moto 360, and haven’t taken it off except to charge, and for a bit of wrist relief when doing heavy typing.

1. Can’t respond to a tweet. With the basic Wear, you get notifications from Twitter of mentions, but your options are: open on phone, and block app. Not great. Adds you have more: you can add or tweet to the add-er. Better.

Hangouts thread

Hangouts thread

Fix: Tweetings $2.99 – Not only is this a great Android (phone) Twitter app, but it installs on your watch as an on demand client (no notification-flooding). Tweetings enables you to create new tweets, see your timeline (about the last 10 tweets), and mentions. For example, on a mention or tweet, you can reply, favorite or retweet. And you see your tweet buddy’s avatar in the background. Nice! Only downside: mentions do not give you any good options, strangely the stock app is better at adds.

Watch out for: First time I tried it, the home timeline would not open. I had to reboot the watch to get out of a spinning update loop. Then it worked fine.

What we’re waiting for:

  • Choose the lists to show on your Wear device. Because frankly, showing me the last 10 of the thousands of tweets going by is not that useful. Certain lists I want to keep an eye on. Others can wait ’til I get back to my desktop.
  • Twitter DMs. Well, maybe, as most of them are annoying automated crap. But if someone is DM-ing for real, I’d like to see them.

 

2. Can’t respond to a text. If like me, you appreciate the simplicity of Android’s default SMS app. It does the job, allows media, works with everyone else. On Wear, however, when you receive a text, you can read it, but your only options are: open on phone, and block app. I can send a text, no problem — that is easy using voice (“Send text”) or from launchers like Bubble Cloud Widget that have a contacts feature.

Fix #1: To respond to texts, you’ll need to turn on Hangouts as the default SMS app on your phone. Then on the watch, on receipt of a text you have an option “respond with SMS” in addition to opening on the phone and blocking. But not all of us like Hangouts (I don’t, my wife never gets texts on her iPhone…should be fixable but I cannot be bothered).

Fix #2: Or you can install Coffee, an SMS handler. You’ll get duplicate notifications on the watch until you block the normal Wear SMS handler The developer says: “When you receive a notification from your regular SMS app, swipe all the way over on the watch and there’s a ‘block this app’ option. This will remove duplicate SMS notifications while letting everything else through”. Same issue and same fix with Tweetings, BTW.

I tested this out, and it works great. When you receive a text:

  • You can reply with voice, of course.
  • Coffee also gives you a six sets of pre-set replies you can select – and they are editable via the app (hey, we’re as cool as Microsoft Band now!).
  • The preset replies are in six categories (see left photo below) – Accept, deny, what I’ll call ‘huh’ responses (don’t care, you decide, etc), scheduling responses, lovey replies and car-oriented replies.
  • Some responses can be customized via the phone app (see red text in left-hand photo, below).
  • You can add custom responses in any set using the voice-to-text feature – I added ‘I’m on a con-call,’ for example. (That happens to me a lot.)
Coffee, reply sets

Coffee, reply sets

Coffee, reply list. Red text can be customized -- for that contact. Nice!

Coffee, reply list. Red text can be customized — for that contact. Nice!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With these fixes, Android Wear puts on a real superhero suit, sprints off the top of a tall building and flies off into the sunset. It’s not perfect, but it is pretty damn special. More yet to come.

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About H.W. MacNaughton

Technologist and communicator. Into technology, jazz, Formula One, sci-fi and any good writing about real stuff.
This entry was posted in AndroidWear, Reviews, Technology and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Android Wear – two WTFs and solutions

  1. Omitsis says:

    We are very excited about our new watchfaces in http://omitsis-barcelona.com/
    You can find some carefully designed watch face for Android wear. The first one was Eixample, inspired by this stunning quarter of Barcelona, and now we have some others also great. We are very proud of all of them and we would be happy to know your opinion.

    • Hi Omitsis, I will be doing another Android watch face review in the next week, and I will certainly include your new designs. I have Eixample Blue on my watch now, BTW and it is my ‘daily driver’ 🙂

  2. Pingback: Android Wear 5.1.1: WTF update and why Bubble Cloud Launcher is still needed | Pat Hayden Jones

  3. Pingback: Seven magnificent use cases for Android Wear | Pat Hayden Jones

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