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Google’s new Android Wear line is the first big step into wearable technology. We’ve already helped you pick out a device Which Android Wear Smartwatch Is Best For You? Which Android Wear Smartwatch Is Best For You? In the market for an Android Wear smartwatch? Let's compare all the options available now and make the decision easy. Read More , and though there aren’t as many apps available for Wear as there are for your phone, there are still a few essentials you’ll want to install on your watch right away.

Slumber (Free)

Most Android Wear devices turn on to charge and display a screen showing the current battery level while doing so. If you’re charging your watch overnight, this light will be shining in your face, and on some watches the constant display has even caused screen burn-in. Slumber simply blacks out your screen when your watch is charging so you don’t have to worry about any of that.

01-Slumber-Charging

All you need to do after installing Slumber is run it a single time, and it will then take over and display a black watch face when charging. It’s not a perfect solution (it would be better to have the screen turned off completely) but it’s better than nothing and should be downloaded by any Wear owner.

Wear Mini Launcher (Free)

Out of the box, launching apps on your watch is annoying. You have to either say “Okay, Google, OK, Google: 20+ Useful Things You Can Say to Your Android Phone OK, Google: 20+ Useful Things You Can Say to Your Android Phone Slowly, without us noticing, the future has arrived. Read More Launch APP,” (not always an option if you’re in a quiet space) or swipe through three layers of menus (tedious at any time). Thankfully, there’s a much better solution: Wear Mini Launcher, which adds a slide-in menu accessible from anywhere on your watch. Slide over once to launch apps, and slide again to quickly toggle settings that are otherwise buried in menus.

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The idea is similar to Swapps! for Android (another useful productivity tool Swapps!: A New Way Of Launching Android Apps [Android 2.3+] Swapps!: A New Way Of Launching Android Apps [Android 2.3+] Read More ), and should really come standard on Wear. You probably won’t have as many apps on your watch as you do on your phone, but this is still an essential tool for any smartwatch owner.

Wear Battery Stats (Free)

Smartphone battery life is the subject of much debate; while task killers are a bad thing Why RAM Boosters And Task Killers Are Bad For Your Android Why RAM Boosters And Task Killers Are Bad For Your Android At first glance, RAM boosters and task killers sound incredibly useful, but a closer look shows that they could actually be harming your phone instead. Read More , there are some ways to ensure you get more out of a charge 9 Proven, Tested Tips To Extend Your Android's Battery Life 9 Proven, Tested Tips To Extend Your Android's Battery Life No matter how long your phone's battery life lasts, there are ways that you can definitely make it last longer. Let's take a look at some different ways. Read More . Certainly, if you have a rogue app that’s destroying your battery, identifying it is key Find Out Which Apps Are Killing Your Android Battery Find Out Which Apps Are Killing Your Android Battery If you're getting poor battery life on your device, you likely have an app abusing your battery in the background. Find out how to identify those apps and solve your battery problems. Read More , and Wear Battery Stats lets you do just that.

03-Battery-Stats-Wear

The app’s watch counterpart gives you a barebones version of what’s going on with your battery, but for the most details you’ll want to open the app on your phone. Here, you’ll be able to view the screen-on time (useful for knowing if your battery loss is due to usage or if something is running without you using it) and apps that have been active.

Battery life isn’t Android Wear’s strong point to begin with, but you check your gas mileage 3 Ways To Obtain Better Gas Mileage With Your Smartphone 3 Ways To Obtain Better Gas Mileage With Your Smartphone Fuel is a significant part of any vehicle’s overall cost to own. In some cases, money spent on gas can make up over half of your monthly car-related expenses. Even people who don’t drive often... Read More to be sure it’s satisfactory, so why not observe battery, too?

04-Wear-Battery-Stats

Facer ($1) / WatchMaker (Free | $1)

The default watch faces are okay, but we’ve showcased some alternative faces 6 Cool Watch Faces For Your Android Wear Smartwatch 6 Cool Watch Faces For Your Android Wear Smartwatch Default watch faces are okay, but customizing is even better. Let's check out some cool alternative faces for your Android smartwatch. Read More to make your watch your own, and you’ll need one of these apps to get started. If you’re creative, you can make your own design for your watch; if not, you’re still able to browse the ones made by others and select one that matches your style.

05-Facer-WatchMaker

Facer and WatchMaker offer different styles, so for the most variety it’s best to pick them both up. Using a site like FaceRepo, you can import new styles into one or both of the apps. With so many to choose from, you can have a new watch every week!

Calculator For Android Wear (Free)

This one isn’t terribly exciting, but most people use their phone as a calculator, so having one on your wrist saves you the trouble of digging your main device out of your pocket. It includes a second page with advanced functions should you need them.

06-Wear-Calculator

Obviously, you won’t want to use this for calculus homework (that’s more the speed of Wolfram Alpha, which can do more than you think 10 Surprising Things You Didn't Know Wolfram Alpha Could Do 10 Surprising Things You Didn't Know Wolfram Alpha Could Do I continue to be amazed by Wolfram Alpha and the way it crunches numbers around openly available data. The result – it shows us the world in a far more inter-connected and interesting way. It... Read More ), but for calculating a quick sale percentage, tip at a restaurant, or double-checking your math, having an accessible calculator is a good idea.

Find My Phone Android Wear (Free)

Apps that let you find your phone How To Find Your Android Phone Or iPhone In A Room Even On Silent Mode How To Find Your Android Phone Or iPhone In A Room Even On Silent Mode Here's the situation: Your phone is in the room, but you don't know where. These two apps let you yell or whistle to get your phone back. Read More are common, but since your watch is paired with your phone, it’s a great idea to be able to ring your phone right from your wrist.

07-FInd-My-Phone-Wear

Simply opening the app and tapping “Find!” on your watch will ring your phone as long as it’s connected to your watch via Bluetooth 6 Top Uses For Bluetooth On Your Android Phone 6 Top Uses For Bluetooth On Your Android Phone Bluetooth has been an impressive wireless technology to enable all sorts of cool functionality with multiple gadgets. While it was rather limited during the early stages of its life, Bluetooth has evolved to be capable... Read More (so this app is designed for when you lose your phone in the couch cushions, not when it’s stolen). The app also allows you to set a notification on both your watch and phone that sounds when they’re disconnected. That way, if you’re about to leave the house with your watch but not your phone, you’ll be alerted before you make a silly mistake.

The app’s basic functionality is free, but to customize the ringtone and other behavior you’ll have to cough up $2 for a premium in-app purchase.

Trick Out Your Watch

This isn’t a comprehensive list, as plenty of awesome apps are available for Android Wear, but these six are the basic ones anyone should install right away. In another post, we’ll take a look at apps for weather, productivity, and tweaking; stay tuned!

Don’t have an Android Wear smartwatch yet? Check out Kannon’s full reviews of the Moto 360 Motorola Moto 360 Android Wear Smartwatch Review and Giveaway Motorola Moto 360 Android Wear Smartwatch Review and Giveaway The $250 Motorola Moto 360 Android Wear smartwatch fuses beautiful and sleek design with functionality. Read More and LG G Watch LG G Watch Review and Giveaway LG G Watch Review and Giveaway Does the LG G Watch suck or does it manage to justify its $229 price tag? Read More to find out which one you should get.

What apps do you have installed on your Android Wear device? If you’ve got a smartwatch, I want to hear from you! Leave a comment and your cool app might appear in my next list!

  1. Pugwash
    January 15, 2015 at 6:41 pm

    I uninstalled Wear Battery Stats recently as the latest version of the Android Wear app includes battery stats in the settings.

    • Ben S
      January 21, 2015 at 9:20 pm

      I didn't notice this new feature until you said something. The app is getting better all the time!

      Nice job noticing; thank you!

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