The first few months after a new platform opens for developers are always exciting to watch. For every category of apps, assumptions about how things work have to be tested and new ways of doing things become standard practices. The simplicity of Google’s Android Wear forces developers to be especially thoughtful about what functions actually need to make the jump, which is easier said than done for some apps.
Task management app developer Pyrus’ philosophy is to get things out of your way as quickly as possible. When you respond to something that required your attention, it’s gone from your inbox — as far as the app is concerned, dealing with the issue is no longer your problem. That’s a lot like how I use Gmail: I respond to things and then archive them, because the number of items in my inbox generally has a pretty strong correlation with my stress level at any given time.
While many developers are still figuring out which notifications they should send to your watch and how frequently they should try to get your attention, Pyrus’s philosophy translates rather well to Android Wear. You don’t see a list of all tasks assigned to you when you unlock your device, just things that are time sensitive that you can deal with by a tap or a quick voice response. In terms of choosing which feature to bring to watches, Pyrus has it easy: most of their smartphone app’s functions have to do with staying on top of orders, budgets, proposals, and the like.
It makes lot more sense to use than some of the other productivity offerings on the platform. Evernote, whose apps I use every day on my smartphone and laptop, makes it really easy to add to your notes using voice on Android Wear. The app also lets you then look at those lists from your wrist, which doesn’t really make much sense on the user experience side of things.
As you can see from the screenshot below, you can only see three items at once in Evernote on Android Wear. If you’re out shopping, presumably you’re going to have to scroll around a lot to cross off everything. While you’re doing so, you have to hold your wrist at a usable angle and manipulate the screen with your other hand. Considering the fact that you need your phone with you for Android Wear to work and using the watch doesn’t free up your hands, you might as well look at the list on your phone.
You can see Pyrus on Android Wear in the video below. Everything is done within the standard “card” interface, so as other developers of task management apps bring their products to Android Wear, their controls and workflows are almost guaranteed to look similar:
When it comes to the practicality of actually bringing apps to Android Wear, Pyrus CEO Max Nalsky is mostly enthuiastic about the platform. On a phone call, he told me that his team was able to quickly roll out Android Wear functionality because they basically just had to “extend” certain features out to the watch from the main Android app — it’s not quite the same as building for an entirely new platform.
His customers who have used the app on Android Wear enjoy the convenience of not having to get their phone out for things like approving a budget they already knew was on its way. With that said, Nalsky told me that they also consistently shared the same complaint: Android Wear’s battery life just isn’t long enough. That’s an issue without a clear solution: a screen, processor from a low-end smartphone, and constant usage of Bluetooth in a small package make it difficult for device maker’s to offer “all day” battery life with today’s technology.