Musing #63: McWatchFace II for Gear Fit2/Pro

I had created and released the original McWatchFace just days after purchasing the Gear Fit2 Pro as I couldn't find a watch face that contained what I was looking for. Thus, it would be an understatement to say that I have been pleasantly surprised by the response to it since its release on the Galaxy Apps Store.

The original watch face, in its two forms, has clocked an average download of 100 per day to rack up a total of over 15000 downloads in less than 6 months. I have no idea of the number of Gear Fit2/Pro users who actively download watch faces, but I find this to be beyond expectataions.

While I haven't released anything new for months, I have been tweaking the design in the background all this time with the aim of pushing the information envelope even further. The result thus, is the McWatchFace II. The changes are pretty much evident at first glance, but the following image sums it up pretty well.

Since these incremental but time-consuming changes were made over many weekends, stealing time from other activities, I decided to put it up as a paid watch face while still retaining the original one for free. It is also an experiment to see whether a paid market for watch faces really exists or people are just content with what they get for free. This decision, unfortunately, makes the watch face unavailable on the iOS app since Samsung has not implemented any means of purchasing watch faces on iOS.

If you happen to purchase this watch face and have feedback to share, then feel free to drop a comment. For others, the watch face can be seen in action in the following video and perhaps it would tempt you to give it a whirl.


Musing #56: My First Smartwatch Face (McWatchFace)


The watch face has registered an average of 100 downloads a day since it was published, despite the fact that I have not publicised it anywhere else. It is simply through discovery on the Galaxy App Store and I am humbled by its popularity.

A smart life deserves a smartwatch, or perhaps it is smarter to be without one. Setting wisdom aside, I purchased my first one earlier this week - Samsung Gear Fit2 Pro. By being 1/3rd as expensive as a WiFi-only Series 3 Apple Watch, it won my wallet, if not my heart. I will reserve judgement on the device for the review, which isn't likely to materialise until I have used it extensively.

This post, then, is about a watch face, to be precise, my first creation of it. Kudos to Samsung for making available an easy-to-use designer, utilising which I was able to create the watch face in hours and survive the royal wedding. Having not found what I was looking for, I decided to create one for myself. The focus in this case was on information density and making the most of the colours on the AMOLED display without straining the battery life excessively.


The result is a crowded watch face that includes all the details that I could wish for. Besides the inclusion of all the fitness information, the icons for weather, music, settings, calendar, step count, floors and heart rate are all tapable with the date redirecting to the 'Today' view.


I was also inclined to keep the display "always-on" and hence chose a minimalist approach for this scenario. It fulfils the purpose of telling time while making it possible to keep an eye on the ever-draining battery. As per the analysis available within the designer, the current on pixel ratio is 1.5% with the minimum being below 1%.

I will mostly publish this watch face in the Samsung Galaxy App Store in the coming week, so be on the lookout for that. On the other hand, if you have some suggestions for future watch faces, then don't hesitate to leave a comment.

(Originally published on May 19, 2018)

Update #1 (May 20, 2018): The higher than expected battery drain in the "always on" mode over the past few hours made me investigate the possibilities of reducing the power consumption while still retaining this mode. A little bit of digging brought up this article which indicates that the next best thing to black is green. Effecting this change for the "always on" mode produces the following result:


The maximum 'Current on Pixel Ratio' is now 1/3rd (there's that ratio again!) of the original one. In fact due to the usage of green, this ratio now remains more or less constant and drops to 0.4% on certain occasions. Finally, I am not open to compromising the "Active" mode too much for power saving, but I have demoted the white to "seconds" which should help a bit.


Update #2 (May 22, 2018): A few more tweaks and optimisations went in to the watch face over the past couple of days and I assume that it can't get any denser than this. With the audience of one being satisfied, I have submitted the watch face to the 'Samsung Galaxy Apps' store and hope that it makes its way through to countless others. For now, I shall leave you with a cover image.

Update #3 (May 24, 2018): The watch face has been approved and is now available on the Samsung Galaxy App store. As an homage to Boaty McBoatface, I have named it as McWatchFace, so you know how to find it.

Update #4 (June 2, 2018): v1.0.2 was published earlier this week and it introduced the option of choosing the 'Distance Unit' besides squashing some bugs. I had started off with the intent of having a single watch face but a bug in Gear Watch Designer prevented me from implementing the 12/24H toggle. Moreover, since the toggle is dependent on the phone, it might be a good idea to have separate watch faces. I might revisit this idea later but for now I suppose I could move towards experimenting with the other features available in GWD.

Update #5 (June 10, 2018): v1.0.3 ushers in animation, starting with the weather icon. I have also published a YouTube video depicting the features of the watch face, as of this version.


Yours truly has also presented own self with a 'signature edition', remarkably named 'MyWatchFace'. Unfortunately, there is no means for user customisation, so this one remains in my sole possession.


Update #6 (June 12, 2018): Samsung seems to have a really inconsistent policy. While v1.0.3 of the 12-Hour version was published without any issues, the similar 24-hour variant was rejected for not supporting Chinese and Arabic.

It would  make sense if the issue was replicable but the emulator as well as my Gear Fit2 Pro show the date just fine in all languages including Chinese and Arabic. It should be mentioned that the language on the Gear Fit2 Pro mirrors that of the phone, so testing the languages implies changing the  primary language of the phone which gets ridiculous real fast.

So, to take the ridiculousness up a notch, I have submitted the same file once again as one can't resolve an issue that doesn't exist. May be I will catch a break and the watch face will pass through as-is or otherwise some minor tweak might be in order.

Update #7 (June 14, 2018): Unsurprisingly, the watch face was published as submitted and with that I have decided to bring the development of this watch face to an end. Hopefully, I will have time further down the line to create other unique watch faces, in which case they should eventually end up at the Galaxy App Store.

Sundry #11: Name Me!

I always find it worthwhile to enrol for contests that don't take more than 10 minutes to complete an entry. Sometimes, I end up winning which makes it a bit more worth my time. A while back I happened to turn in a couple of entries for the naming of a transport management system for employees. I happened to come across it today and in hindsight, the entries seem wacky and tacky in the same breath. Even then, as some wise person would say, it is the thought that counts. In that vein, I put forth my entries, as submitted. Who knows, it might just inspire someone to something altogether different.

ENTRY #1:


Name:
Salvahan

Idea behind the name:
The name is a portmanteau of 'Salva' and 'Vahan'.

Salva is the neuter-plural second declension of the latin adjective 'salvus' meaning safe, sound, healthy. Besides the English word 'safe', its descendants include 'sauf' in French, 'salv' in Romansh, Catalan and 'salvo' in Italian, Spanish; all of which convey the same message of safety that is in accordance with the objective of establishing this transport management system.

Vahan refers to a vehicle in multiple Indian languages, primarily Hindi, but also in other Indian languages like Marathi, Bengali, Punjabi, Kannada, Telugu with minor variations. In combination with 'salva', the name can be conceived to be a reference to 'safe travel'.

Logo:
The open but encompassing palms are a universal indicator of care and safety. At the same time, they closely mimic wings indicating smooth and fast transportation. The car being lodged between the palms indicates 'safe travel', thereby depicting the suggested name. The red smile stretching from one headlight to another not only expresses satisfaction but also indicates 'end-to-end' transportation between source and destination, viz. between home and office.

Bonus (Abbreviation):
Each letter of the suggested name can be expanded to capture the intent of the transportation system.
Safe
And
Likeable
Vehicle
Assisting
Humans
Ambulate
Nicely

ENTRY #2:

Name:
transME!

Idea behind the name:
The name can be construed to be an abbreviation for Transport Management for Employees. On its own, the prefix ‘trans’ means across or beyond but works well as a reference to ‘transportation’. The capitalized ‘ME’ in the name is meant to invoke the personal nature of the transport system. Together with the exclamation mark (!), the word can be pronounced akin to ‘transmit’, indicating a sense of conveyance.

Logo:
The logo is primarily designed to capture the name in a stylized fashion. The word ‘trans’ in grey and its overlap with the road is meant to evoke a sense of ‘rubber on road’. The letter ‘M’ is depicted using the headlights of a car as it moves within the contours of the road, thereby conveying the purpose of the system. The letter ‘E’ represents points of interest along the road while the exclamation mark is meant to convey a sense of excitement.

Variation:
Depending on the availability of the name, it can be adjusted to ‘transMET’ using the same logo. The idea then would be that it refers to transportation across the metro.

Sundry #3: Logo

There comes a time when you are left with nothing but a notepad and pen, ensuring that the twain shall meet. This is the output of once such instance. Doodling can certainly be a great saviour of life-threatening situations borne out of boredom. There is a lot to offer when the mind really goes wild but this one is a purely geometrical logo imbibing a degree of simplicity.