Why you should learn to build a smart watch app?

Moto 360

"It's time your watch did more than show you the time."
Yes, that's what Motorola says with their new watch Moto 360. But honestly, for the first time, there's a watch that looks, well, like a watch. With the added benefits of a smartwatch, it is the first smartwatch that I feel like buying. However, it is what's under the hood, that's going the usher a new revolution in app development.

The launch of the Moto 360 and the LG G watch coincides with the launch of Android Wear. Android Wear is the SDK launched by Google specifically for wearable devices. A developer preview is available, using which you can extend your already existing apps to smart watches.

Check out this video to understand more about Android Wear -

Is the smart watch something people will use?

At first, you'd think of a smart watch as a gimmick. Along with the function of showing time, the watch has an aesthetic value. The time shown by a Rolex is no different from the time shown by any other watch which is at 1/10th the price. But if you had the money, you'd still buy the Rolex.

Furthermore, putting a touch screen on a watch might not even seem like a great idea. I mean, touching the watch's screen to change the time is going to be, well, different from what you're used to. Ravi Vyas, an Android developer from Mumbai says, "Watches are non-interactive consumption devices. Touch and voice commands are going to make its use cumbersome."

Amrit Sanjeev, a Bangalore-based Android developer, on the other hand says, "I use a Sony smart watch and I really love using it. There are so many interesting use cases to it, such as reading a text message or checking a summary of my email. These tasks would have otherwise required me to take out a phone from my pocket, which is more cumbersome."

Smart watches are also relatively inexpensive. You can get a Sony Smartwatch at about 150 USD, which is a fraction of the cost of a good watch. The added features of the smart watch present a good case in persuading an average user to buy one. Furthermore, the smart watch is at a very early alpha stage, so these devices are only going to get better. I think people will use smart watches in the time to come.

Should you start developing smart watch apps?

Oh, absolutely. There are already 300+ smart watch apps for Sony alone, on the Android app stores. These are all paid, and some of them have got a significant number of downloads on them as well. Plus, the launch of Android Wear opens a plethora of options. Before this, OEMs like Sony and Samsung used their own propriety SDKs and API sets. You'd have to create a separate app for each kind of smart watch. Now there will be a common SDK for a large number of devices. Google announced that they're working with all kinds of hardware makers, including Asus, HTC, LG, Motorola, and Samsung; chip makers Broadcom, Imagination, Intel, Mediatek and Qualcomm; and fashion brands like the Fossil Group to bring you watches powered by Android Wear later this year. Well, that covers the whole spectrum.

But Amrit thinks there is a better reason to start building smartwatch apps. He says, "This is exactly like how it was when Android was launched. Everyone was on a level playing field. No one could say that they had more experience than the other. While the platform for software development is the same, building a smart watch app is going to a whole lot more different from building smartphone apps. It's a level playing field again and if you've got the time to learn something new, you should definitely explore this. Especially students; learning to build smartwatch apps gives you an early mover's advantage and you'll have a very employable skill as soon as you graduate. "

To put that in perspective, almost every smart watch app on the Play Store is a paid app. And quite a few of them, make a compelling buy. Add this to the smart watches which are going to come out, it is a really good reason for you to pick it up.

Have you signed up for IndiaHacks yet?

About the Author

Raghu Mohan
Raghu is an engineering grad handles Marketing at HackerEarth. Prior to this, he was an editor at YourStory.com. When he’s not working, you can find him at the nearest music shop having a jam session.