For a debut product, Samsung’s Galaxy Gear is surprisingly robust: We like this smartwatch’s good call quality, helpful notifications and long battery life. However, the Gear’s true potential — running your digital life from your wrist — waits to be unlocked by third-party apps. There aren’t many apps to choose from yet, but that doesn’t mean we’ve found a few diamonds in the rough. Here are 10 of the best apps so far for the Samsung Galaxy Gear.
This note-taking app has been a staple on many users’ phones, thanks to its intuitive interface, powerful syncing and collaboration abilities, and multimedia support. Evernote for the Galaxy Gear syncs with the phone app, allowing you to view your recent notes and checklists on the smartwatch. The app also lets you take photos using the Gear’s camera or record audio, which it will automatically upload to your Evernote account as a new note.
MyFitnessPal is a must-have app for those looking to keep better tabs on their health. This handy app lets you keep track of your calories, scan bar codes of food items and add meals to a food diary. You can also view your nutritional intake (cholesterol, sodium, carbohydrates, etc.), track your weight loss progress and add set up reminders for exercise. MyFitnessPal for the Galaxy Gear boasts almost all of the same features of the regular app — scanning bar codes, tracking calories and adding food to your diary — with the added benefit of a pedometer.
For readers on the go, Pocket (formerly known as Read It Later) is an indispensable app that lets you save articles, videos and pictures directly from your phone’s browser or even other apps like Flipboard and Pulse. Even better, because the articles saved in Pocket sync with your phone, you can read them offline — a boon if you’re caught without a data connection on the subway. Pocket for the Galaxy Gear doesn’t let you read your saved articles directly on the smartwatch, but it will read them to you via your phone’s speakers or headphones. Just hit the play button on the Gear’s display to start listening.
If you have a bid on a hot-ticket item on eBay, getting outbid at the last moment can be a searing experience. With the eBay app for Galaxy Gear, you can receive notifications such as “Item Outbid,” “Watched item ending soon” and “Bid item ending soon” straight to your wrist. The app doesn’t allow you to shop on eBay directly from the smartwatch, but at least you won’t lose out on that prized product.
Although RunKeeper and MyFitnessPal seem redundant at first blush, the two apps are in fact complementary — while MyFitnessPal focuses primarily on your food intake and RunKeeper acts as a digital fitness trainer. The app tracks the number of miles you’ve run, and whether or not goals you’ve set have been met. It also provides information about your current activity, including distance, calories burned, average heart rate and more. The RunKeeper app for the Galaxy Gear serves as an extension of the app on your phone, allowing you to track your current activity on the watch, including time, average minutes per mile, total miles and calories burned.
"Do you know where your children are?" The Life360 app seems to have been created to answer exactly that question. Life360 serves as a family locator app that lets you find members of your circle (family members, friends and caregivers) and send messages to everyone in your circle or individual members. You can also set up your phone to automatically alert you when circle members arrive at specific locations, such as home or school, or check in using your phone’s GPS. Life360 for the Galaxy Gear complements the main app, letting you view info about your circle members at a glance, check in, hit the panic button and send prewritten text messages.
Taking a cue from Motorola’s innovative Smart Actions feature, Atooma allows you to create presets for when certain conditions are met. The phone can automatically turn off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth and dim the display if the battery level falls below a certain percentage, for example, or use Text-to-Speech for text messages if you're driving. You can download new presets from the app's huge selection or create your own. The Atooma app for the Galaxy Gear allows you to enable or disable presets you’ve created or downloaded on your phone (though you can’t create new ones directly from the smartwatch).
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EasilyDo gives you the power of Google Now on your wrist. This extremely robust app for your phone and the Galaxy Gear lets you receive an alert when it's time to go; call, email or text attendees to your calendar events with prewritten messages such as "I'm running late"; get an alert when you receive emails from a certain person; track packages; RSVP to Facebook events and get Facebook birthday reminders; check the traffic for your daily commute; and view local weather. Believe it or not, this isn't even a complete list of the app's features.
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Tweet Quickview is one of the few apps that's completely unique to the Galaxy Gear — you won't find this app for your phone on Google Play. Using Tweet Quickview, you can see a timeline of the latest tweets of people you follow, any tweets in which you were mentioned and any direct messages you received. The best part? You can read, favorite and retweet the tweets directly from the Galaxy Gear, no phone required.
Despite its name, CamDictionary actually serves as a translation tool. The app features a huge array of languages, from Norwegian to Catalan, and will automatically detect and translate whichever language you've typed into the input. The app also boasts a camera function that will translate individual words you’re viewing with your phone's rear-facing camera. The CamDictionary app for the Galaxy Gear eschews typing input and uses the smartwatch’s built-in camera to translate words you’re viewing. The Detect Mode and captured language can be set to automatic or manual.