Smartphones, tablets and laptops have helped many travelers in dire situations overseas. Maybe it is maps that are required, assistance for navigation, help for translation or simply converting currencies or distance to traveler’s own standard. The smaller the helpful gadget is, the easier it is to access, and it is used more often. That is why wristwatches with tiny computers inside them can have a bright future on travelers’ wrists.
The Apple Watch is an elegant smartwatch that has some useful travel applications, but because there are more people in the world who are not using Apple products than people who are using them, let’s explore our smartwatch options if we don’t want an Apple watch.
LG Urban Watch
You need a smartphone to provide Internet connection for the smartwatch. In many cases, an app you are accessing on a smartwatch may actually run on your smartphone. So, when you choose your smartwatch, make sure it is compatible with your smartphone.
Since Android is a popular software that is powering most of the world’s smartphones and tablets, it is the obvious choice for smartwatch software as well. The New York Times evaluated three Android smartwatches: Pebble Time, LG Watch Urbane and Moto 360.
Out of these three watches the LG Watch Urbane
is the most useful gadget for travelers. It comes with the best navigation app and voice command functionality.
The Moto 360 shows great potential, but doesn’t have enough functionality yet. It dares to be different, but waiting for the next version of the product maybe worthwhile.
The Pebble Time
is suitable for messaging, and it is waterproof.
The Apple Watch may look like any other modern, somewhat bulky electronic wristwatch, but it is much more than that. The smartwatch from Apple is a tiny computer that is connected to its owner’s iPhone via wireless Bluetooth connection. The exciting thing with the Apple Watch is that you can download apps on the watch in order to tailor its functionality to suit, for instance, for traveling.
Stephanie Rosenbloom, a reporter for The New York Times, tested the Apple Watch in New York. She took the role of a tourist who doesn’t know her way in the city, and used the device in situations that an average tourist typically encounters in foreign places.
The Apple Watch can be controlled by tapping the screen and turning the knob on the side, by speech or by applications running on the iPhone.
Positive experiences when traveling with the Apple Watch:
Notifications are displayed on the Watch when hands are full of bags and luggage, and there are not enough hands or time to pick up the phone from a pocket or bag). Notifications include emails and calendar alerts.
Hands-free dictation of text messages and answering phone calls.
Ask (without typing) for directions to a destination, and the watch displays a map with directions.
Most travel apps worked fine on the smartwatch.
Paying small purchases via Apple Pay. [editor’s note: the payment system has very limited availability, especially, outside the U.S.].
Easy set up: apps downloaded on the iPhone and from there on the Watch.
Some travel apps failed miserably on the Apple Watch. [editor’s note: the new device is so different to any other Apple products that apps have to be completely redesigned and re-thought for the watch.]
Apple Maps or Siri speech recognition couldn’t find all requested places. [ed. note this is true for the Apple Maps iOS app as well.]
The GPS location given by the watch wasn’t always accurate enough for navigation on city streets. [ed. note: there can be many reasons for this – in city environment, high-rise buildings or anything that obstruct signals from GPS satellites can cause interference]
Keeping in mind that this is the first version of the Apple Watch, the start is very promising. Once the teething problems have been solved and clever software developers have invented new apps for the smartwatch, we will have a useful new gadget in our wrists.
Applications that let us read ebooks on ereaders, tablets, smartphones and laptop computers have been available for years. Especially young book lovers find it pretty natural to read on a five-inch smartphone screen, while older generations grab a tablet or an ereader when they want to read. Those readers who still don’t believe it is possible to read a book on a smartphone, will have to take a stand on a new product: smartwatch.
The new possibilities of the Apple Watch has tickled the brain cells of software developers, also within enterprises that market ebook reading applications. One of them is Glose, a company that has developed a reading app for tablets, smartphones and PCs. Now, Glose has released their ebook reading app for the Apple Watch as well.
The Apple Watch screen is only about 1.5 inches in size. It is clear that only a few words fit into the screen, making conventional reading troublesome. That is why Glose has a feature called speed reading in its Apple Watch app. The feature automatically scrolls the text one word at a time to the screen. The reader determines the scroll speed.
Glose ebook reading app for the Apple Watch is available on the App Store.
Via Ink, Bits and Pixels.