Android Wear is packed with productivity-boosting features.
Samsung's new Gear Live is one of the best smartwatches for business. That's because – alongside the LG G Watch -- it's one of just two devices available that's powered by Android Wear, a new mobile-operating system designed by Google for smartwatches. The first Samsung Gear smartwatch ran on an older, stripped-down version of Android, and the Gear 2 runs on Samsung's own smartwatch software. In comparison, the Android Wear-powered Gear Live can leverage the power of Google for notifications, automated alerts, voice-activated messaging and even Web searches right on your wrist. Here are three features that make it good for work.
Android Wear is packed with productivity-boosting features. It lets the Gear Live connect wirelessly to your smartphone to deliver information to your wrist before you even ask for it. For example, it can monitor your calendar to remind you of upcoming meetings and appointments, notify you if your flight has been delayed, and even alert you to bad traffic on your commute home from work. Android Wear is also good for email and text messaging, letting you reply to an incoming message or compose a new one right on your watch using voice dictation. And if you need a specific information, you can even perform a Google search on your smartwatch.
The original Samsung Galaxy Gear smartwatch, and the Samsung Gear 2 followup, are compatible only with Samsung smartphones. That means they're off-limits for business users who own an Android phone by another manufacturer. The new Gear Live, on the other hand, is compatible with all Android phones running Android version 4.3 or higher, so it's a viable option for more business users. If you own an older phone, check your settings to make sure it's running a compatible version of Android.
With its square face and plastic band, the Gear Live isn't the prettiest watch around. But with its curvy metal bezel, it's easily the better-looking of the two Android Wear watches available. The LG G Watch, with its all-plastic build and chunky, rectangular face looks a bit bland in comparison. For serious business users, that style distinction could help give the Gear Live the edge. More patient buyers might want to wait for the upcoming Moto 360, set to launch later this summer, which features a sleek round face.