Smart wearables are increasingly trickling down the tech space, but the niche manifests a stage which can easily be entitled to as blossoming, yet naïve. “Where we are with wearables is about where we were with the Internet in 1993,” says Amanda Parkes. We have technologies ranging from the popular Google Smart Glass to wearable ECG devices and smart socks for kids, but a fine line separates these discrete smart objects from being a part of a smart ecosystem. Devices perform in-bred functions, track stats of human body, present notifications but fail to account for an integrated environment. Thus, a higher number of devices intrude your vicinity, with potential to invade privacy and sometimes creep you out (unwantedly). Sketchy prototypes are floating the markets, branded as products.
Furthermore, premium segment of mobile phones (> Rs. 50,000) accounts for only 0.6 percent smartphone users in India. A study published by CyberMedia Research asserts that the Average Selling Point (ASP) of smartphones in India is ₹10,700. Most of the wearables, fabricated as a result of intricate engineering, repudiate this price boundary. Here is, thus, a list of apps which can be handy alternatives to purchasing these expensive accessories:
Available on all notable platforms including Android, iOS, Windows Phone and Blackberry, Endomondo is ripe with features for tracking a vast array of physical activities like running, walking, sports, weight training, aerobics, etc. (aggregate 58 regimes) letting you track stats with high-accuracy GPS usage.
The interface is intuitive and live display logs and presents your pace, duration, calories burnt and altitude, as well as distance traversed using GPS. Interestingly, it doesn’t prevent audio applications from playing while it is live, so can groove to your favourite music or podcast while indulging those bulges.
Premium features include Training Plans, detailed stats lie Heart rate zones.
In a webbed world, notifications derive most of our glances towards our smartphones. Wearables and smartwatches significantly ease this by presenting those notifications on a smaller, more convenient screen. However, paying a hefty price to buzz your wrist, even for feckless notifications may not appease many. Inspired somewhat by Motorola’s LiveDisplay (and Nokia N8’s Glance Screen) AcDisplay displays previews to notifications from a dimly lit screen, emulating AMOLED display without actually waking up the screen.
It is currently only available on Android, for free. One can also enable an active mode which senses motion of the device to wake it. Users can also wave over the proximity sensor to resuscitate their device. Additionally, one can prioritize or toggle notifications off from unwanted apps by adding them to the blacklist.
With the advent of Fitness trackers, predication of sleep has received the attention it deserves. Sleepbot is an app that emulates the functions of a sleep tracker band and paints a vivid picture of your sleep activity through the night, duration of sleep, any movement (tracked via accelerometer), and even recording any sound that you make (or made in the room) while you’re fast asleep.
Sleepbot is available on both Android and iOS. You can easily take cognizance of your sleep through the minimal graphical representation, or add notes wherever necessary. Additionally, Sleepbot provides resourceful information about food and exercise habits to encourage a healthier sleep, or to empower you to stay awake.
Augmented reality displays overlaying information associated with physical reality. But not everyone likes the $1500 GlassHole, or even other $100-200 alternative devices. The idea of the Google Glass may have originated from Google Goggles which furnishes users with the power of searching anything by clicking a picture which then reads through the picture and suggests results based on its perception.
Layar app lunges a step forward by leveraging user-generated search result and suggestions. It also supports a Geo Layers feature for discovering or navigating to the nearby places like monuments or restaurants. Layar provides a unique platform for advertising and sets the stage for the future of collaborative augmented reality. It is available for both Android and iOS.
Available for free, for both iOS and Android’s user segment, Strava is a community-based app which allows users to compete against other fitness zealots. What makes the competition fiercer is that it rewards you with money for outstepping peers in the same neighborhood. It records time, distance travelled, and split time between you and another user. Further, you can add friends Facebook or our Contacts and compete with them.
Strava makes use of GPS to track accurate locations of users and give them a comprehensive picture of their competition nearby. This sense of competition greatly adds to the turned up heat. Users can also strive to beat records set by themselves. Premium features allow personalized coaching and advanced metrics of your performance.
Technology of wearables is still in its beta phase with impending convincing results. Moreover, the price tags are often too heavy to bear with. While you can’t use apps on your phone to gauge levels of anxiety or track temperature trends on your kids’ bodies, these are attributes you are not likely to use for another five to ten years, despite the backing by Moore’s Law. Meanwhile, you can save those hard earnt bucks by using some of the apps listed above, making your way to a healthier and more aware lifestyle.