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That iWatch Web Browser Hack Reminds Me Why I Like Android

Did you catch the news over the weekend about the iWatch (*)?

Ars Technica, 9to5Mac, and a bunch of other blogs are all talking about comex and his recent success in getting a web browser running on Apple’s smartwatch. We don’t have very many details yet, but they say that he found a way to bypass the iWatch’s Carousel interface and access the underlying operating system (iOS 8.2).

Comex posted a video as proof. As you can see, he browses Google’s home [age:

This web browser might not be accessible to the average user but it is far more capable than Cufflinks, the limited function text-only web browser which launched the same week the iWatch shipped. Cufflinks was good for little more than reminding us what it was like to browse the web in 1995, but this browser hack should do more.

But not as much as an Android smartwatch, alas. And that brings me to the real point of my post.

When I was reading about this story and thinking about whether I might write a post, I noticed that comex revealed the hack with a tweet that read:

My immediate thought was to suggest that he get an Android smartwatch, and while that is snarky there is more than a grain of truth to the snark.

As a rule , Android is more open than Apple’s platforms. Some Android Wear models are as locked down as the iWatch, but not all. With a little work you can find smartwatches running full-blown Android, including models which double as a phone.

When framed in that perspective, folks, I’m sure you can see why I am unimpressed by today’s news. I can see how a web browser on a smartwatch would be newsworthy in 2013, but the only way this counts as news in 2015 is if you forget the last 3 or 4 years worth of gadget news.

Want a web browser on your smartwatch? It can be done, but why limit yourself to just a web browser when you can run Windows 95?

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jjj May 11, 2015 um 12:41 pm

While this news item is stupid for many reasons , like who cares and who wants that and so on, Google is not being very nice anymore and Android Wear is far more closed than it should be.
Maybe the biggest problem is that with the new form factors Google is trying to hijack more and more of our traffic so they can mine it. With Glass, Wear, and Chromecast they are just inserting themselves in the middle even when there is no need to do so. Things like Chrome’s Data Saver serve the same purpose but at least there they provide a service.
The outlook for Android is gloomy without a leadership change at Google so we really need some more alternatives.

Nate Hoffelder May 11, 2015 um 1:17 pm

I wouldn’t call it stupid, but I agree that it doesn’t rise to the level of news. If I hadn’t made the connection with what Android smartwatches can do i would have skipped this post.

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