Is it time for a smartwatch app?
September 16, 2015

Is it Time for a Smartwatch App?

Written By Rebecca Larkin

There can be no denying the popularity of smartwatches, over the past year or so the market has been flooded with wrist-wear from the likes of Samsung, Motorola, Apple, and start-ups such as Pebble. Early adopters are surprisingly pleased with the devices, especially the Apple Watch.

But it is a fad? Doubts arise as to whether these watches will still be as popular a few years down the line. With that in mind, is it worth going through the effort to build an application for them?

But, devices aside, what about their apps? We hear a lot of questions about smartwatch apps, and the market is still quite fresh as far as the app side goes, but it’s really taking off, and if you’re thinking about making an app then now is definitely the time. If you don’t have the know-how, our smartwatch services can help you realise that dream.

What’s out there at the minute and what’s coming up?

With their popularity increasing, there’s lot of exciting things happening in the the smartwatch world, and there’s lots of new developments to look forward too including Apple’s watchOS 2 update and the release of the Samsung Gear S2.

watchOS 2

At the minute Apple is pretty much dominating the smartwatch market, and it’s not surprising as there are now over 10,000 apps available on the Apple Watch.

Apple are currently getting ready to launch their latest watchOS 2 in Autumn. There’s still no exact release date, much to everyones disappointment, but the new features in the update will more than make up for the wait.

The biggest new development will be the most useful, as finally we can look forward to native apps on the Apple Watch! Native apps mean faster loading times, faster performance, a smoother user experience, and even more opportunities for apps. They can also take advantage of Apple Watch’s built in functions such as the heart rate monitor, speaker, microphone, accelerometer and the Digital Crown, and use them to their full capabilities within their app.

For developers, watchOS 2 brings oodles of juicy features to play with, and great new functionalities for potential applications. With WatchKit, Apple has given programmatic access to the Digital Crown for simpler item selection and animation APIs for fluid and more dynamic user interfaces.

The ClockKit framework enables apps to provide up-to-date and meaningful information that updates throughout the day directly on the clock face with Complications. You can even enable multiple versions of your app’s “Complications” on the same face to display a variety of information.

Our developers can’t wait to get their hands on watchOS 2 and create smooth running and intuitive apps, and these new additions to the Apple Watch operating system open a lot of new possibilities for apps. If you want to know more, here’s our full round up of watchOS 2.

Samsung Gear S2

Never one to be left out of new developments, Samsung are hot on Apple’s heels with their latest offering. Unlike other Samsung wearables, the Gear S2 runs Tizen rather than Android Wear, but the new features on the Gear S2 bring a lot more to the table.

One of the new additions, the Bezel, will make scrolling and selecting simpler, and enable a range of in app movements, much like Apple’s new Digital Crown. In addition, the touchscreen, home and back buttons will offer seamless functionality to apps.

Gear S2 can offer apps a range of features, and enhanced standalone Gear apps could work with network, call and location-based APIs. Web and native apps will also be able to run on the new Tizen system with both web and native app SDKs, meaning you can have a fast, light-weight app on the very latest smartwatch technology.

Android Wear

Of course it’s not just Apple and Samsung in the smartwatch game, and there’s a plethora of Android Wear devices available such as the popular Moto 360.

Each watch has it’s own functionalities but the the varieties of app remain almost limitless across the whole range.

The most popular apps around at the minute are fitness trackers. Due to the mobile nature of the device, fitness trackers have even more to offer when they’re on a wrist. mHealth apps are also booming as the smartwatch market grows as watches give great opportunities for tracking symptoms, movements and user logs.

Of course, there are other uses too, with plenty of games (who wouldn’t want a Tamagotchi on their Apple Watch?), maps, weather, language training and much more.

If you’re still wondering whether or not a smartwatch app is the right step forward, or whether it’s time to develop an app, we think it most definitely is. These little watches aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, and we think their popularity will grow even more in the next year or so. There really is no time like the present to jump on the bandwagon and use the very latest in wearable technology. If you have an idea for an app drop us an email, we’d love to hear your ideas.