Android based smartwatches for remote app

#1

Because I do not have Apple (expensive), I’m considering to order a smartwatch with Android OS (probably Android 7.1, I have not yet found a smartwatch with Android 8).
The regular Android smartwatches run on Wear OS, but on Chinese websites like https://www.banggood.com, you can find watches that run on a regular Android operating system, and thus you can install apps from the Play Store without too much hassle.

From the reviews I learn that these smartwatches are quite good.

Because I want to try Marvel, I would use the Phonak app.
Does anyone have experience with this?

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#2

That is interesting. I hope you try it and report back. I didn’t know there was any option to use regular Android on a watch.

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#3

Here’s a good informative Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCYeF5HjQaEr_b5TAUu7VCfw

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#4

What do the reviews say about watch battery life? Google has been struggling with watch battery life for its watch Wear OS so I imagine that a watch running full Android would have a decidedly poorer battery life.

Because I wanted a Samsung Galaxy Note phone with a pen to write and sketch, I went with a Galaxy Gear smart watch. I use the watch mainly for fitness and sleep monitoring but also to be able to be able to glance at texts, e-mail, phone call notifications if received while driving (just as one would glance at one’s speedometer) or without having to pull out my phone. With connectivity turned off most of the time, I get 2.5 days of battery life on a Gear S3 Frontier. Newer versions of Samsung’s watch are supposed to be able to go 4 to 5 days on a charge but don’t have MST payment (Magnetic Secure Transmission), which emulates a magnetic card swipe yet is accepted at payment terminals that would normally require the chip on a physical card to be used. I guess if one wants to control one’s HA’s through a watch, the Samsung Gear watches are useless but for the other reasons cited, the watch is great. With the latest update to the watch Tizen 4.0 OS, my 2017 watch is much faster and more responsive than what was already pretty good to start with. Besides less battery life, I would imagine that you’d also pay every day in every way with a much more ponderously slow watch when running the full Android OS (unless the watch OS is “full” for running apps but with greatly reduced other system features).

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#5

I know that with these Chinese watches I’ll need to recharge it about once a day, but at least I can use it to call, listen to music, and manage your hearing aids. For the other apps I’d probably still need the phone or a tablet (you can put a sim-card inside and a SD card).
The Chinese watches are quite inexpensive.

I see here that an Android apk will also work on Tizen, but it is a hassle to do it: How To Install Android App APK on Samsung Tizen OS Device - Gadget.Council

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#6

Thanks for the link. I think the article refers to the Tizen OS as used on Samsung phones that Samsung sells in Asia - but it would be interesting to see if it works on a Samsung watch (without rooting).

The one thing that I should say to counteract my “Rah! Rah!” for Tizen and also Samsung Galaxy apps loaded onto one’s device from the Samsung Galaxy app store, bypassing Google Play, is that I have read an online article or two saying that Samsung does not devote the same effort to security that the Google Play Store does and that the Tizen OS is riddled with security loopholes (read that awhile back - hopefully Samsung has fixed things up quite a bit since then). But then (just kidding here), just like the U.S. is paranoid of Huawei hardware in the transition to 5G, when one buys a Chinese smartwatch with its own custom version of Android, what are you getting? (in my own instance, I don’t worry too much about any of this since as my aunt used to shock me by joking, just like her, I’ve now got one foot in the grave, the other on a banana peel!).

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#7

I can’t imagine running regular Android on the watch. The gestures are so different than a phone and app interactions, etc. I’d recommend staying with the Wear OS and getting a cheaper or even older model if needed. I’ve been meaning to write-up my use of the Marvels and my Wear watch, so here you go, like it or not :slight_smile:

I’ve got the Marvels, a Note 8 and an LG G Watch R. The watch is 3 years old, but it’s running the latest Android Wear on it. I get a full day and it’s still got around 40% left of use and then charge it every single night. That’s no wifi on the watch, just BLE to the phone. I also have the screen on 100% of the time so I can use it like a real watch. Really impressive, especially on a 3 year old daily use watch. They are running $35+ used on ebay and $110 new.

There is no Android Wear app for the Phonak Remote, which is a real bummer. But they’ve got a LONG way to go with just the regular app, let alone a Wear app. Still, I find the watch very useful while wearing the hearing aids, even though they don’t technically talk with each other directly, (everything runs through the phone). I prefer to look down at my watch when a call comes in, and if I answer by swiping on my watch, the call is routed through my Marvels. The best use is for the music streaming from my phone. I play/pause and control the volume on the watch and it’s more convenient. I’ve really come to enjoy having music playing, (instead of my tinnitus) and several times a day I’ll need to quickly pause the music if someone walks into my office. The new Wear version is much better for music management than even a few months ago.

Another thing I really like about the watch is using it’s microphone for the Google Assistant while driving. I drive a big noisy truck for my commute, and it’s been awesome to be able to stream music and then mute my Marvel mics to block the road noise. So nice! The problem arises when you shout “Hey Google, broadcast I’m on my way home”, or “Hey Google, listen to Metallica” the Marvels know that my mic’s are muted and kick them on to send my voice to my phone/assistant. If I give the command directly to my watch, it has no idea my mic’s are muted and it just does what it’s supposed to do and I don’t have to re-mute the mics after the interaction. Now what would really be nice is if the engineers noted the mic state before turning them on and then put them back when I was done!

A final note on the app and why I don’t think it’s practical to use it on a watch with the Marvels. The Remote app uses BLE for programming. There are some issues pairing these things with multiple devices, so you’re probably going to have to pick one and stick with it, (phone or watch). The phone app is terribly slow in connecting/syncing/making changes. It’s several seconds which seems like an eternity when you’re just needing a quick tweak in a meeting or something. They really, really need stay in touch with the Marvels and stay in sync and then just allow a quick up/down volume or program change to be sent. I don’t care if it takes several seconds for the request to be fulfilled, but don’t make me stare at the app while they connect to the devices and then refresh the settings and refresh the screen and then the screen times out and I turn it back on and it has to re-connect all over again. So frustrating! Trying to do that on a watch, keeping the screen active and dealing with the crummy interface and design of the app would be incredible difficult IMHO. I haven’t broken out code or Tasker to see if there is a way to hack that app and do some automation or skills for it, but it’s on my to do list.

Sorry for the long post.

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#8

Thanks a lot for this post.

I wonder what the Chinese would need from me, so that is not really an issue for me :slight_smile:.

Do the Marvel “wake up” when you talk to them, can you talk to them? For example, if I want to use “Hey Google”?

Also on Wear OS there is a way to install apk’s, but again, I think it’s a hassle: How to Sideload Apps to Android Wear: Get Any App on Android Watch - Tech Advisor

Of course, the screen is small, but using a watch looks to me in some cases better than a phone.

I understand from you that the following is not working (yet) as designed?

I have 2 mobile phones and one pair of Phonak Bluetooth hearing aids. Can I use the Remote app on each phone?

Yes, it is possible to have the Phonak Remote app on each phone. Whichever phone the hearing aids are currently connected to is the phone that can make adjustments using the Remote app. We recommend only using the Remote app on the primary phone to prevent confusion.

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#9

I know, this is a bit off-topic, but for the interested a link with more about these watches: http://roundandroidwatches.proboards.com/

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#10

The Marvels do wake-up when connected to my phone and I say “Hey Google”, but I’m pretty sure it’s the phone that’s doing the waking. The phone lights up almost immediately and pauses my music streaming to the Marvels while I interact with the Google Assistant. The music resumes as soon as I’m done. My only gripe is that if I’ve got the mic’s muted when I say “Hey Google” that they don’t re-mute after I’m done. I think my voice is actually being picked up by the phone anyway for the interaction, not the Marvels, so I’m not sure there is any reason to mess with the Marvel mic’s in the first place. You can also use Hey Google on the watch, but I have it disabled and press the button instead and can avoid waking the phone and skip saying Hey Google. That’s one of the big benefits of the watch is keeping the phone in my pocket and still getting the benefits of the assistant.

Sideload apps: Yeah, you can sideload apps onto Android Wear, but now they have their own apps and app store, so ideally the developers build just for that platform.

2 mobiles: This does kind of work after some testing. You can only have one BTClassic pairing/connection at a time with the Marvels and BTClassic and BLE are enabled/disabled at the same time since you can’t choose in the Bluetooth settings at that level of detail. I had my Samsung mobile paired with the Marvels and working fine. I then paired the Marvels with my Cisco desk phone. The new pairing of course blew out the BTClassic pairing to my Samsung, but it connected fine and I used it for some calls at the office. While doing that I was still able to use my phone to connect to the Marvels with the RemoteApp which uses BLE while the Cisco was using the BTClassic. Once I was done with my calls for a while I turned off BT on the Cisco, turned off my left, (primary) Marvel and turned it back on to get it into pairing mode and then re-paired it with my Samsung so I could continue listening to music and taking calls on my mobile. So yeah, I think you can have multiple RemoteApp devices, using only one at a time, but still issues with BTClassic in general.

And thanks for the link to the watches.

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