News @ Northeastern: Students With Autism Get A New Tool For Independence: A Smartwatch. “For students with autism, receiving extra help in school is often crucial to their academic success. But fitting in and feeling accepted is equally important, especially in the classroom. Ralf Schlosser, a professor in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at Northeastern, has developed a series of new teaching techniques to help students with autism learn alongside neurotypical classmates without drawing attention to themselves by using an unsuspecting piece of technology—a smartwatch.”
Music Radar: It turns out that Google Wear OS smartwatches contain a secret drum machine. “You probably didn’t buy your smartwatch planning to make music on it – particularly, it has to be said, a Google-powered smartwatch – but it turns out that high-tech timepieces that run the company’s Wear OS contain a hidden drum machine.”
TechCrunch: Consumer report warns over safety of kids’ smartwatches. “A report by an EU consumer watchdog has flagged up myriad problems with smartwatches designed for children, including security flaws, privacy concerns, and risks posed by unreliable features.”
Ruth Porat apparently thinks it’s okay: Google is getting into smartwatches. “Google will be launching two new flagship smartwatches in the first quarter of next year, according to Jeff Chang, product manager of Android Wear at Google. In an exclusive interview with The Verge, Chang said that the new watches will be the flagship Android Wear 2.0 devices and will be the first ones to launch with the new platform.”
Turns out that smartwatches and other wearables have a bit of security problem. “Collaborative research conducted by a team from the department of electrical and computing engineering at the Stevens Institute of Technology and Binghamton University in New York State, has demonstrated how a wearable device such as a smartwatch could end up compromising a user’s PIN thanks to the motion sensing data it generates.”
Is Google going to build its own Android Wear smartwatches? “Speaking to Android Police, a reliable source has told us that Google is currently building two Android Wear devices – possibly Nexus-branded – for release some time after the latest Nexus phones are announced. One watch will be larger, sportier, and more fully-featured (LTE, GPS, heart rate), the other will be smaller and lack the aforementioned mobile data and GPS.” This is a rumor and clearly presented as such. The author of the article, David Ruddock, does some speculation on the possibility and on the smartwatch market in general.
Newer Android Wear watches now work with iOS. “Once you’ve paired your watch with your iPhone (the app is compatible with the iPhone 5 and all newer iPhones as long as they run iOS 8.2 and up), the actual on-watch experience is pretty much the same as always. The app supports rich notifications from Gmail, Google Calendar and Apple Calendar, Google Now Cards, voice queries, Google Fit support, alarms, and everything else you’d expect (including support for the recently launched Translate app on Android Wear).”