Version 5.7.0 gives you your first chance to try out Android Wear Features. If you have an Android Wear Watch, you know you do. I am not asking anyone to get an Android Wear watch just for this, but to learn more, see http://www.android.com/wear/
This is not guaranteed to be stable yet, and certainly will evolve.
You don't have to do a lot to get started. When 5.7.0 is installed on your phone, it should automatically install the wear app. Let's hope that works. You probably won't start it directly. Just wait for a notification on the watch.
After you have started navigating with BackCountry Navigator (My Location(center)), look for a notification in your card stream.
It is generally best to choose your mapsource and set zoom level at 16 on the phone.
You can click on this notification to open the wear app with four more cards (there will be more later).
You can scroll from left to right to see all four screens.
Four dots at the bottom help you keep track of where you are.
If you swipe the leftmost screen, it will close the app, and take you back to the notification
The notification will reoccur as long as BackCountry Navigator is transmitting location so you can open it again at any time.
Please note these known limitations at this time:
- This is meant as a companion for active navigation. Keep tabs on where you are and keep your hands free. Not for map browsing, planning, etc.
- It is not a standalone navigation. The phone still should be with you within bluetooth range. There are merits to a standalone navigation idea( if you have Sony SW3) but it should be addressed as a separate topic.
- No interactive stuff yet. You can guess that it will come.
- You may encounter a rare condition where the map comes out blank or stats come out blank. This usually works itself out, but we will investigate.
- The track you are actively marking may lag behind you and then catch up. Don't worry, tracking is probably still working. This is part of an optimization so we don't use too much bandwidth.
- Keep GPS On should be on in settings (the default).
- You should not close the BackCountry Navigator screen via the back button. Even if tracking is going on in the background.
How will this affect battery life on the phone and the watch?
The full effects are not yet known till we have more field tests. Please note:
- The bluetooth communication has been optimized to put little drain on your phone. That probably won't be the determining factor.
- The battery life of your phone will INCREASE. Yes, I said increase. Because your phone will be tucked away more often and the screen will be off.
- The battery life of your watch will likely decrease, because the screen will be on more often and be showing more than the time.
- The phone will outlast the watch by a big margin. Partly because of what I've mentioned here. Partly because the battery has ten times more capacity.
As of 5.7.3, you can monitor your progress on the map using a Watch Face. To choose the watch face, simply Long Click on the watch face, and choose the watch face labelled Backcountry.
This shows a subset of the information that is on the wear app. It will give you an incredible boost in battery life, because we are able to take advantages of the power saving features of the Watch Face screen. This lasted six hours on about 55% battery life.
Follow up on this topic.
I am sure there will be many feature requests. Be patient as we have to balance against requests for the main app, which has 1000 times as many users.
If you wish to support our Android Wear Efforts, buy, review, and/or Google Plus some of our Android Wear Watch faces such as this one: