It has taken some time, but wearables are gaining traction among consumers as smartphones saturate the market and developers push consumers to invest in different forms of smart technology. Smartwatches are surging in popularity, and Android Wear alone boasts 4,000 apps for wearables. Given all the options available, there's no reason to settle for the default apps your new wearable device comes with right out of the box.
For the traveler who loves to cross borders on a regular basis, your smartphone or tablet no doubt has popular apps like Travelocity, Booking.com, or Kayak. However, there is a great app for your wearables that can help you learn a few important phrases from foreign languages in easy-to-understand lessons. Duolingo is a free app for wearables that challenges you to answer linguistic quandaries in the form of fun, short questions. You earn achievements for each correct answer, and improve your basic knowledge of languages you may well need on your travels.
Feel the Wear
While your smartphone has a great deal of variety when it comes to notification sounds, tones, and vibration patterns, smartwatches lack that diversity. Feel the Wear is a great enhancement app for wearables that allows you to customize the vibrations for each of your notifications, allowing you to know what type of notification is coming in without even looking at your wearable.
In many cases, apps for wearables are designed to meet a specific need. While this often makes for great apps, it also fills up space on your wearable devices by requiring you to download multiple apps. Wear Buddy is the perfect app for wearables because it combines multiple functions into one app. Straightforward in nature, Wear Buddy can check that status of your phone's battery without reaching into your pocket, locate and activate the ringtone on a lost phone, and even alert you with a vibration if you leave the house without your phone connected.
Wear Mini Launcher
One of the few complaints from new smartwatch users is the difficulty that comes with opening and navigating apps on such a small interface. Wear Mini Launcher makes it easy to open and use your apps for wearables. You can access settings quickly, increase or decrease brightness, control Wi-Fi access, and even alter ringtones on your smartphone. The goal was to make navigation and use more refined for consumers, and Wear Mini Launcher achieves it the best according to Tech Radar's list of 40 Best Android Wear apps.
Fitness apps are all the rage among smartphone users, and increasingly, among smartwatch users as well. Business Insider notes that fitness apps grew 62% in usage through the first half of 2014, compared to just 33% for overall app usage growth. Digital Trends took it a step further, citing numbers from Google that says there are 100,000 health and fitness apps available on Android and iOS combined. These apps were valued at $4 billion in the market at the end of 2014, and could reach $26 billion by 2017.
Endomondo is the most popular fitness app for wearables on Android Wear, and makes it easy to tag your runs, cycles, hiking adventures, and climbs. If you've got a wearable device with built-in GPS, you won't even need a smartphone as a companion. Those devices store the information from your exercise sessions directly on the watch for later uploading.
These are just some of the most popular apps for wearables. Whether you're a business traveler, fitness enthusiast, or both, you'll find an app perfect for your new wearable device.