I already gave you my first impressions of the Pebble smartwatch. While it works great out of the box with the ‘official’ Pebble app, there are a handful of 3rd-party apps that I’ve found to be absolutely essential to getting the most out of this gadget.
1. Augmented Smartwatch Pro – one of the first things you’ll run into with the official Pebble app is the limitations on notifications. It’s good, don’t get me wrong, but not as robust as I would have expected. After testing a few of the handful of Pebble Notification apps, I rested on Augmented Smartwatch Pro, for a couple of reasons.
For starters, I use Enhanced Email for my work email – I could write a whole blog post on why, but if you use Exchange email on your Android phone and you’re not using Enhanced Email, you’re missing out. Augmented Smartwatch Pro is the only app I could find that is able to pull the sender/subject line from Enhanced Email notifications. It’s the difference in knowing I have a new work email, and knowing that it’s not from my boss and I don’t have to worry about it right now. Crucial.
I also get more granular control over notifications, and much more. It’s worth the price tag, for sure.
2. Music Boss – in my first impressions post, I shared an example of how I could control my music from my Pebble. This was using Music Boss. This app actually lets me toggle easily between a bunch of different 3rd party music apps on my phone, and brings enhanced visuals and controls, such as artist/track information and such. Definitely a must-have.
3. Glance – this is a popular app, and while it does include some great notifications features, it also has some really awesome watchfaces built-in that are easy to switch between. These watchfaces include the time/date, but also pull in dynamic information, such as unread emails, weather, and calendar details. Additionally, one of my favorite features allows you to send pre-defined SMS to your 5 most recent contacts. Most recently, I used this to quickly tell my wife I was headed home, and to tell my boss I was running a few minutes late to a meeting. All with a couple of clicks on my wrist, instead of unlocking my phone and typing the whole thing out.
4. Spoon – this is a brand new app that I’m testing that allows me to check-in on Foursquare right from my watch. Click a button, shake my wrist to refresh the venues, click, and I’m checked in. It’s pretty basic right now, but the developer is working to include social sharing capabilities and more – it’s a great little app, and a perfect example of the types of things that a smartwatch can make easier and less intrusive into your life.
5. Canvas – this app allows you to create your own watchfaces right on your phone. You can incorporate data from Glance, but Canvas gives you complete freedom over what your watchface looks like. Probably the only downside is that there’s no desktop component or web interface, so you have to create your watchface on your phone. This can be cumbersome, specifically because the data shown is pulled in using custom codes. Thus, I find myself toggling the onscreen keyboard on and off, which can make this a very tedious task. However, the power from this little app is astounding.
If you’ve just purchased your Pebble, or got it as a gift, and you’ve got an Android phone, I’d highly recommend you start with these apps.
What other apps have YOU found for your Pebble?