With the recent announcement of Apple’s watch, the wearables market is really heating up and picking up more widespread interest. I myself own a Pebble, which boasts an impressive 5+ day battery life and great outdoor visibility thanks to its e-paper display, and an open-source platform, which means that anyone with a bright idea for the next killer watch app is free to create it. Now, when I first got my Pebble, I liked it, but there were a few things didn’t work the way I would have liked. After looking around for a bit, I found exactly the apps have taken this smartwatch to the next level. So without further ado, I present to you my essential Pebble apps for Android.
Pebble Notification Center
The main use of a smartwatch for me is for notifications. With my Pebble, I get a vibration on my wrist that quietly alerts me to any notifications on my phone, as long as I’m within range. The Pebble performs this functionality fairly well out of the box, but there were a few annoyances that PNC made so much better:
- Shows the full body of any SMS or email. The stock Pebble notification only shows the first few lines of a message, but PNC shows the entire message.
Shows the subject and body of Exchange email messages. My work email is on Exchange, and the stock Pebble notification would always just say “New Email Received” when I got an email on that account. PNC shows the subject, sender, and body.
Allows for easy customization of what can send notifications and what can’t. No, I really don’t need my wrist to buzz every time one of my apps updates itself.
Allows for easy tweaking of the format of notifications. The options are limited, but sufficient enough to provide for a respectable range of customization.
Dismiss “upwards”, meaning, if you dismiss a notification on your watch, it is cleared from your phone as well, so you don’t have to clear the same notification twice.
That’s not even everything that Pebble Notification Center does, but these features alone are enough to elevate it to the status of “killer app” for me. Now, a few words about the latest state of the app: with one of the recent Pebble firmware updates, PNC has gotten a bit sluggish. However, I am can attest to the fact that the developer is extremely responsive to direct emails, and when I asked him about this, he pointed me toward the PNC Beta program, which he said contained improvements in this regard. I joined the beta recently and can state that the beta version does indeed improve the responsiveness significantly, and also added some new features as well. So really, give PNC a try!
This part went a bit longer than I was expecting, so I’ll pause here with the goal of covering my other two essential Pebble apps for Android next time. See you then!
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