Monday, November 10, 2014

A call for openness, stability, and features.

Recently, Google put the LG G Watch R up for sale via the Google Play store at a whopping $300. The G Watch R is another round-faced smartwatch like the Moto 360, but it doesn't have the issue of the awkward black bar at the bottom of the face and looks just as slick. However, it still doesn't quite appeal to me in terms of functionality.

When Google announced the Nexus 6, I really, REALLY drooled. It made me briefly think about leaving Samsung and finally getting a pure Android phone.

This is all about me.

It only lasted a moment. I remembered that if I wanted my Gear 2 Neo to work, it would need a Samsung phone or tablet to connect to.

This is where the conundrum for me comes in. I love my Gear 2 Neo, but my S4 recently began to act up almost the same way it did this past February. In this incident, it wouldn't charge on a charger until I absolutely needed it, then it slow-charged while I was at a home football game for three hours; even then, it wasn't topped off and lost charge almost twice as fast as it usually did. I switched it off for a day and it resumed charging normally. However, that didn't exactly work in February and I ended up sending my original S4 to AT&T and received a replacement one. I really doubted Sammy this time. I started looking at the Nexus 6, Moto X, and other options because this should not happen in the same brand on the same phone with similar symptoms!

To add on to the conundrum, if I went with an Android Wear smartwatch that costs that much, it still wouldn't have the same functionality of the G2N, like not having a heart monitor for health tracking or the ability to make and take calls on the watch for a quick conversation. Essentially, I'd be paying more just for a watch to look prettier and have less functionality on that end, and most non-Android Wear smartwatches are a bit shady or don't offer full functionality. Even though I don't use that call feature much, it is so incredibly useful when I'm in a rush or have my hands full.

The problem here is multifaceted: I can't trust Samsung too much because of the charging issues, Samsung is too closed at the moment with its Gear family, Android Wear smartwatches cost too much for too little functionality, and most other smartwatches are also limited, shady, or otherwise not well-made.

Here's what the parties involved need to do to improve their business models so that less conundrums happen:

Samsung: open up and stop this nonsense
To say that this is my second S4 that I had a scare about the charging with says something: something similar was wrong and may not be easy to correct. My utter last resorts were either an early upgrade (oh heck no) or taking my phone apart and soldering in a new charging strip (HAHAHAHAHA no). I really loved the new Note 4 and I still do, but I'm on shaky ground after these last two incidents. What if something happens that isn't my fault but renders the phone unusable? Samsung needs to address this concern as I've seen forum posts with the same problem. Additionally, it wouldn't kill Samsung to do an anti-Apple and open up the Gear family of smartwatches to other Android phones and tablets (please do not open to Apple I swear to God I will cut you, Samsung) to boost sales and widen up a new audience. At the very least, issue a Tizen update that allows the Gear watches to be used with other phones and make the Gear Manager app available on Google Play. I'm not asking for Android Wear on it. Just. Open. Up. The. Platform.

Android Wear manufacturers: step up ya game
I cannot stress this enough: I don't care if your watch looks pretty, so help me God I will not pay $300 USD or more for it unless it can mostly match what the Gear 2 Neo can do AND outdo it in looks. Let me make calls on it, control music via the default music app, and control my TV, and that will solve it for me. I'd rather pay $300 for something that combines looks with functionality than pay the same amount for a device that does less.

Smaller manufacturers: squawk and up the ante
We won't even talk about the failure that was the Kreyos Meteor here. Long story short, I'll be watching companies like Arrow and Arubixs closely. Their downfalls will basically mean an end to a rise in smaller companies gaining headway in the wearable market. Also, other companies need to start offering more functionality with their devics; smartbands and fitness trackers are great, but wouldn't it be easier to mix in a few more functions too?

I'm getting frustrated because it seems like everyone in the wearables game is either keeping their stuff on lockdown or aren't making products that meet a full potential. Please, get it together, manufacturers, okay?

1 comment:

  1. Well said, Mateo! Keep up the good work with these informative reviews :D