I have a Pebble and really like getting notifications on my wrist. It’s useful to see if it’s an important notification without having to look at your phone every time it buzzes. So that’s why I didn’t see why I should get a heavier watch with a barely acceptable battery life, like the LG G watch. But Capitaine Train‘s new smartwatch app showcases why an Android Wear watch can be useful.
As a reminder, Capitaine Train is a French startup that is all about improving train ticket booking. The company wants to make the most efficient ticket booking experience in Europe. It relies a lot on a well-designed user experience and engineering.
It’s not a sexy industry, but after having used the service a few times, there is no way I’m ever switching back to a cumbersome, slow ticket booking website, which tries to upsell me with car rentals.
Capitaine Train Android engineer Cyril Mottier has been working on an extension of the company’s Android app for smartwatches. Instead of just showing notifications, the app does more than that. The smartwatch app doesn’t try to fit every feature of the Android app on your wrist, it focuses on three core features.
First, when you arrive at a train station with your heavy bags, your watch will buzz to send you your train information. Train number, carriage and seat are all available on your wrist. Then, when you need to show your digital ticket to a train inspector, you can just swipe the screen to get a barcode and show it to the train inspector. Finally, if you really want to see more information, you can open the Android app in one tap. It all makes sense in the video embedded below.
It isn’t revolutionary, and very few people will actually use it, but it’s a nifty little use case. A Pebble can’t do this. In fact, this is where Android Wear excels. It perfectly pairs an Android app with a tiny little watch display. To get a full-fledged app, you take out your phone. If you only need a couple of key features that are actually useful when you’re on the go, chances are that the Android Wear app will help you. Android developers already know how to code for watches.
Another good example is Google Maps instructions. You can see turn-by-turn directions on your wrist. It could be useful when you are riding a bike for example. So it’s still early for Android Wear, but if manufacturers can release better watches and developers adopt the platform, Android smartwatches could become useful for more than a few early adopters.