The Good, the Watch and the Ugly: Thinking about coding for the watch platforms

Presenter: Alfonso Roman

I’ve played with a lot of the watches.

Bootstrap Apps

  • They don’t work on their own
  • Companion apps handle communication with your smart phone
  • Cloud based account to use core functionality (i.e. messaging)


  • Each has it’s own design & interaction language
  • Rely heavily on touch, gestures, and voice
  • Different interaction affordances
  • Android Wear defines notion of a context stream that uses vertical swipes to view items vying for your attention


  • Each requires their own SDK
  • SDKs provide hooks into OS features (Apple Health, Google Fit)
  • Pebble SDK provides limited bridge to iOS and Android apps
  • Fitbit SDK is a RESTful API; not possible to talk directly to the Fitbit device, all communication must happen through the cloud after the Fitbit has synced data with its servers. Can sometimes get stale data based on sync schedule.


  • Battery life (Pebble & Fitbit are great)
  • Native vs Web API
  • Cost
  • Dev platform
  • Integration with other frameworks


  • Apple watch implies native iOS app
  • Android watch implies Android Phone
  • FitBit is web only
  • Pebble: just plain ugly (C++ only)
  • Companion apps: devices are useless without them

By Paul Schantz

CSUN Director of Web & Technology Services, Student Affairs. husband, father, gamer, part time aviator, fitness enthusiast, Apple fan, and iguana wrangler.

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