Now that Apple’s watch-shaped cat is completely out of the bag we’ve got a far greater idea of what Cupertino’s techy timepiece will be capable of and it looks like Android Wear needs to do a little growing up, and fast.
One of the key components of the Apple Watch experience is the apps menu, which unlike Android Wear sits at the front and centre of the experience (aside from the watch face). A focus on apps pushes the wearable’s key features more effectively than placing a focus on swiping through notifications, almost a complete inversion of the way Android Wear does things.
As it stands the default Android Wear experience requires that the user call up the Google Now voice input screen, scroll down the list of possible features and select the ‘start option’ and only then will they be able to peruse the list of installed app. After coming across Wear Mini Launcher however, that whole song and dance is reduced to a single action.
Whilst reading the steps in writing is one thing, the time saved by having access to your apps as a moment’s notice has to be experienced to truly be appreciated. The app itself installs like any other application that supports Android Wear. Once installed and your wearable connected, you’ll be able to customise the experience on the phone side.
The app comes with a surprising amount of options, from choosing where to drag the apps drawer in from, to which apps and functions you want the pull-out drawer to display. You can even toggle haptic feedback and toggle the aesthetics (read: colours) of the drawer.
Wear Mini Launcher is free on the Google Play Store and only asks for donations within the app, which we’re inclined to give the developer. If Google doesn’t implement a feature like this officially, we’re unsure of how the OS will fare once the Apple Watch hits store shelves at the end of April.