Actions determine which applications are used when you give your smartwatch a certain command. For example: there are two health and fitness apps on the Moto 360, the Moto Body Heart Rate app and Google Fit.
Let me show you how to change the default settings to use one of the two apps to measure your heart rate.
How to change the Actions Application settings on Android Wear
Changing the settings is not all that difficult and straight forward to do using the Android Wear app. I have installed the Android Wear app on my Nexus 5 – as you can see in the screenshots below.
Step 1. open the Android Wear app (scroll down)
In the main interface of the Android Wear app, you will find a section all the way at the bottom of the page, where you can see a number of standard actions – shortcuts as you might call them. These actions can be triggered by voice command or in the actions “shortcut” menu of the Android Wear watch – this shows up when you say: “Okay Google”.
You will find a full list of all the actions that you can take when you click on the button labelled MORE ACTIONS. You should see a screen that looks something like this:
I will continue to show you how to select the right tool to measure your heart rate.
Step 2. select the action you would like to change
To select the correct app to measure your heart rate, click on the show my heart rate icon. The icon that is currently shown is the one that is being used at the moment.
I have decided to stick to the Google Fit app. Don’t ask me why, but I just simply like the sound of that more than the Moto Body Heart Rate, which sounds so technical.
Now once you have selected the right one, it will show up in the list of apps that you are using. If anything changes, you will get a short haptic feedback in the form of a vibration on your smartwatch. If you don’t change anything, things will simply stay the way it is and “saving” the options will not trigger any further actions.
Step 3. give it a shot and tell your watch to measure your heart rate
Say: “Okay Google” to open the settings on your watch and start speaking. You can either say: “Show me my heart rate” or scroll down a little and click on the text that says <Show me my heart rate> (yes I know that sounds obvious, but sometimes it is quicker to click on something than to say it out loud, especially when there is a lot of background noise or you are in a busy office.
Step 4. wait and watch the magic happen
It might take a few seconds, but the heart rate check should start immediately. The result should look something like this in the picture below.
There have been rumours about the fact that the Moto 360 heart rate monitor is not that strong and precise as it could be. Just like the Apple Watch, it has a problem dealing with tattooed arms (wrists) and the results vary significantly.
I personally have not had any trouble with the heart rate sensor of the Moto 360 and it works perfectly fine. You do have to make sure that there is a close contact between your wrist (skin) and the back of the watch. The light sensors are at at the bottom of the watch.
Summary mini tutorial how to change the watch actions / shortcuts
The shortcuts can be very helpful and the actions dictate exactly which app to open when you say a certain command or use one of the pre-set commands that are available on Android Wear.
This can be very helpful if you are using multiple note taking apps, or sports tracking apps. Maybe you always want the app to start tracking your runs on Runtastic instead of Endomondo.
If you think this mini tutorial was helpful, feel free to share it or leave a short comment at the bottom. Looking for information on other features of the Moto 360, and/or Android Wear – let me know what you would like to find out and I will see what I can do for you.
A great feature of the Moto 360 are the numerous watch faces that you can set. A watch face personalises your smartwatch to your mood of the day or to suit your needs.
I work in a very international environment with subsidiaries of our company in both San Francisco as well as Moscow. Therefore I use the “Dials” watch face to display the time both where I currently am (mainland Europe), as well as the time in San Fransisco and Moscow.
Want to learn how to set up you own watch faces too, let me show you how to do it.
Customizing your watch face on the Moto 360
It only takes a few short steps to set your own customer watch face up on your smartwatch for the Moto 360. What works best is to use the Android Wear Application on your smartphone. The phone I use to do it is a Nexus 5.
Step 1. Open the Android Wear App
Select the watch face you would like to use. For this example, I have used the “Dials” watch face. If you would like to see all the watch faces that are available, click on the button labelled <MORE>.
Step 2. select the color of the dials
You can choose from a wide selection of dials colors and adjust the background to a nice white or black. I personally find the black somewhat easier to read, especially in the evenings or indoors and it is not as intrusive as the white. But that is fully up to you of course.
There is a toggle button to add the current date too. The date displayed will be that of your current timezone. You cannot change the date to fit one of the smaller dials that you are about to customize in the next step.
Step 3. scroll down and choose the timezones you would like to display
You can choose two different timezones to be displayed. One on the left and one on the right. The two buttons (left and right) logically correspond to the dials on your watch.
Click on one of the two buttons here labelled SF and LON to change the timezone of that respective dial. There is no OKAY button here, so if you select one of the radio buttons you will be taken back to the previous screen straight away and the new timezone will be applied. (see image below)
I chose to set mine to SF and Moscow as explained before, but decided to leave the date variable out. I don’t really look at that anyway – and live in the moment ;-).
Step 4. Update and apply the changes to your Moto 360
Now the last thing you need to do is click on the UPDATE button (top right hand corner in green in the menu from step 1.) to send the changes directly to your Android Wear smartwatch.
You will feel a slight vibration of your Moto 360 to confirm that the changes have been applied. These steps can be done for any Android Wear Smartwatch of course and are not exclusive to the Moto 360.
Summary of our mini tutorial on how to change your Android Wear watch face
Here is the result:
I hope this helped you a little and you will be able to start customizing your watch face straight away. Have fun playing around with it and I am sure that you too will find the watch face you like best very soon.
There are many more watch faces that you can download from the Google Play Store. Some are for free (actually most are for free), but for a few of them you might have to pay a little bit of money. You can have at the collection on the Google Play Store here.
I am looking forward to see what type of watch faces the Moto 360 2 will bring for us. I am sure that this will bring customization to a whole different level.
If you have any questions on customizing your smartwatch, please do feel free to leave a comment below and I will have a look at if I can tackle that problem in the next mini tutorial for you.
With the new version of Android Wear, Google will also be releasing a much improved Hangouts 4.0 version to go with it. The messenger app has improved a lot over the last 12 months and enables Googlers to Hangout and message each other across multiple devices (desktop, phone, tablet and wearables). Since the Moto 360 does not have a camera, it is not possible to video chat with someone on the new Hangouts 4.0 app. However messaging functionality has been improved significantly.
The hangouts app has gathered a large set of fans worldwide. The great thing about hangouts is that it’s a cross device messaging platform that can be used both on phones and on desktop PCs equally well. The hangouts app is integrated in all google products such as Google Plus and other Google products such as the Chrome browser. Hangouts main competitors are Whatsapp and Skype. Google hangouts app is entirely for free and can be used on all computer types and operating systems.
What I am most excited about in the new hangouts app is the fact that interfaces been changed entirely. The hangouts at has remained very easy to use and it enables you to use your smart watch in a more efficient way. You can for example send text messages and the emojis by drawing on your smart watch. The new hangouts app is very intuitive and easy-to-use as soon as I have it installed on my Motorola 360 I will to a full fledged review on the new app.
I try to be as sporty as can be and although I tend to get lazy after a few weeks or months and lose interest again, I do try to stay generally fit. I love to go for a run from time to time to clear my mind, stare into the distance and show my eyes that there is more to life than just a 13″ retina screen.
To get inspired I started using one of my my now favorite apps called Freeletics. Freeletics is more than just an app, but a full-fledge community of sports and health conscious cracks and athletes who enjoy pushing their bodies to the limit. The Freeletics app is very easy to use, you pick out a workout you want to do, hit start and you get going. The rest of course is up to you.
What is Freeletics?
Freeletics is a sports community of athletes that focusses on quality of work outs, combining strength and endurance in “short” high intensity training sessions.
Freeletics contains three types of training: Workouts, Exercises and Runs.
Workouts are a given set of exercises which have to be completed in the exact same order and number as stated. Workouts can appear in different types and volumes which allows for specific training of cardiovascular endurance, muscular endurance and strength.
Exercises are a given number of repetitions for a single movement. They exist from the low to the high repetition range to train strength, speed and stamina.
Runs are a given distance and contain sprinting over medium to long distances. Runs are ideal for training of cardiovascular endurance but also to complement a strength training program.
Of these 3 types of trainings, that can be combined within a single session as the athlete would like, the most obvious one to use your smartwatch with is the running part. Using the gps in your phone to track your distance, as well as the integrated “steps-counter” in the Moto 360, this is the most straight-forward form of integrating your smartphone into your workout. However as the Moto 360 does not have an integrated gps module inside the watch, you would always need to take your phone with you to track where you currently are.
New Sports and Health features with Android Wear 5.1.1.?
This might change with the new Android Wear version 5.1.1, that will be brought to your Moto 360 soon and supports a WIFI connection between your watch and the phone, so that you can leave your phone at home. It remains to be seen if this would mean that the Moto360 would still track your steps and distance accurately if you leave your phone at home, but that is something that it currently already does.
Update 19th of June 2015, the new android wear version 5.1.1 is out and has brought Wi-Fi connectivity to the Motorola 360. I am currently testing what this actually does and how we can use it differently with fanatics and all the exercises that we want to do. At first glance, the new software version of android for smart watches has brought quite a few improvements but the freeletics app is still not entirely supported.
This means that we will have to wait a bit longer until the freeletics team release a full fledged Smart watch integrated solution that will work on any smart watch. As I’ve understood it so far the first thing that they will be working on is an Apple watch version of the app. This does not mean that an android app is not around the corner, but the focus is more on the Apple watch at this time. Nevertheless I think that there should be a few functionalities that Freeletics and Motorola should incorporate the new software versions of both the smart watch and the app.
How could Freeletics and my Moto 360 work together?
What would be absolutely grand is if I could use the health monitoring features that the Moto 360 has, to track the progress in my workouts. My favourite smartwatch has a heartbeat monitor and could in theory keep track of my pulse whilst doing my exercises – or my recovery times after a tough workout. That way I could actually see how I have improved my general health and fitness over time.
The Moto 360 could track my heart rate during exercises and measure my recovery times
One feature of Freeletics is the Freeletics coach. A coach helps you put a suitable training plan together for you and tells you what you should be doing to get fit. If the coach would have the information on how I am recovering from various exercises, he could help me structure my trainings even better. The Freeletics coach could for example tell you whether I should be focussing more on cardio exercises or strength – and it would see which exact sessions push my heart rate to its limits.
The goal with Freeletics is not just to do a number of sets, but they have added a competitive time element to it. The “faster” you do the workouts the “better” – well at least it looks cool to some of your friends maybe. Although I never really focus on getting my workout done as quickly as possible, but more on doing it right, it would be very convenient if I could simply tap my wrist to go to the next exercise instead of having to pick up my phone every time between sets. Alternatively, I could also just “say/tell” my Moto 360 to skip to the next exercise with a special code word that triggers that action (just like using the “Okay Google” command).
It would be very convenient if I could simply tap my wrist to go to the next exercise
Integrated health check: something the Apple Watch can do already, is regularly check and read when I am exercising. It reads the pulse of whoever wears the Apple watch and when the heartrate goes up it understands that I did something. The activity heartrate measurement works best when doing cardio workouts though. Since I definitely get my pulse up nicely when doing Freeletics, it could easily measure and see that I started working out.
The Moto 360 on the other hand, only registers the heartbeat of the user when it is explicitly instructed to do so, or when the user is in “action” – meaning moving from A to B. When I am doing my general workouts though, I hardly ever leave the spot I had started on. This is something that a Freeletics integration could take advantage of, and next to measuring my health statistics when I am doing sports, also track it during the days to see what my general fitness is like. Understanding the users “pulse” and general fitness is key to giving him or her the best advice on how he/she should do sports and how they can improve their health.
Active counter, when I am doing a certain exercise, such as push ups, sit-ups, pull-ups or burpees, my hand-movement is very distinct. I could image that it would not be very difficult to (depending on the workout that I am currently doing) count the number of repetitions that I have done so far – in real time. That way it would be virtually impossible to cheat the system. One more added benefit would be that the watch could jump to the next exercise within the workout whenever I am done with the current one.
With an automatic counter it would be virtually impossible to cheat the Freeletics app
Let’s say that I am doing sets of 50 burbees, followed by 30 push-ups, and 50 sit-ups; after the first 50 burpees my watch could vibrate slightly – indicating a new exercise – show me what I have to do and start the countdown from the top again (namely with the 30 push-ups). That way I would finally not have to get up to reach out for my phone and switch over to the next exercise and save me a few precious seconds that I desperately need to beat my personal best time.
Freeletics: Unleash the potential of wearables
The bottom line is: “I do not like the fact that I have to change my watch 3x a day and I want to use 1 universal stylish gadget to do all that.” I think that smartwatches and fitness apps are destined to work more closely together and there is absolutely no reason they should not. This is one part of the wearables business that should rapidly be improved. The technology is already there, and I think that there are loads of ideas out there that simply need to be put into practise.
Unleash the true potential of wearables!
The last few years a clear focus has been on cardio vascular activities, such as running, swimming and biking and improving gps connection on “smartwatches” such as the SUUNTO Ambit (which is a fantastic sports watch). Hardcore sportsmen and fitness cracks will surely not get rid of their Garmin sports watch and Suunto watches any time soon, but for regular casual consumers who do sports once or twice a week, there is not really much incentive to buy a separate watch for another 300-400 $/€. The B2C sports world has been evolving quickly in the last few years, and it is time to bring the world of wearables to the next level.
PS: If you live in Zürich (Switzerland) feel free to join me for a workout or two whenever you want. Just use the contact form to get in touch.