Android Wear 2.0 Brings New Revamped Fitness Tracking Feature But It’s Still Way Behind FitbitBy Lucy McClaren, UniversityHerald Reporter
Google will be rolling out the latest OS for smartwatches, the Android Wear 2.0 in a few weeks. It brings the new and revamped Google Fit offering useful tools but still far from perfect. Google still needs to do a few more tweaks to rival Fitbit as the number one fitness tracking smartwatch.
The new Android Wear 2.0 interface now appears cleaner and more user-friendly starting with the on-watch Play store to download apps and customizable watch faces. It also comes with app shortcuts and widgets that include the stats of Google Fit like calorie count and steps taken at a one-glance view. Also, users will now find it easier to make shortcuts to various Google fit workouts.
Most smartwatches actually have the basic fitness tracking feature to monitor steps, calories burned, distance and active time. Many times these stats are helpful, but it can also get confusing for a moderate walk can be mistaken as a biking activity. The absence of on-watch indicators makes it also difficult for users to ascertain when a particular activity has begun recording until Android Wear 2.0 brings the all-day fitness tracking.
The latest Android Wear 2.0 version brings a much-improved Google Fit workout app that enables users to view fitness data on the watch as well as have a fitness goal like walking 5,000 steps or running four times a week. The only downside is that the app still has no heart-rate or even sleep tracking, but third-party options are available. Another concern is the added load to the battery capacity suggesting that the smartwatch may need to be charged overnight, according to CNet.
Google has made a few steps ahead of Fitbit when it comes to the on-watch workouts now displayed on the device with Android Wear 2.0. It is much better than Fitbit's Blaze because the feature counts the reps and allow users to choose from three different kinds of challenges like the push-ups, sit-ups, and squats. Moreover, the smartwatch provides tips on how to do a particular exercise even showing the proper form.
The rep counting has been tested as accurate but only when users strict to the proper form not even giving in to scratching their nose, which can be counted as an additional rep. There are now tracking exercises preinstalled in the Google Fit workout to monitor various activities like running, walking, biking, treadmill running, aerobics, climbing stairs machines and more. Android Wear 2.0 brings real-time data display but only limited to three live stats.
Unlike Fitbit, the app does not have social media support that adds the motivational factor when competing with family and friends. Fitbit is even planning to add news feed just like on facebook. The app also does not work with the iPhone since it has no iOS support.
Android Wear 2.0 will be rolling out in a few weeks, but there are devices that will not be supported. Sony has already confirmed that the Sony Smartwatch 3 will remain with Android Wear 1.5 possibly because of its aging chipset, according to Android Police. Other unsupported devices include the Moto 360 and LG G Watch.