Oh yeah, you read that right! Sleep as Android is coming to Gear Fit 2. In fact, you can download it right now. Go ahead, do it! It’s right there, on the Galaxy Store!
You’ll find it, somewhat cryptically, under Watch Faces > Digital > New.
Or under Watch Faces > Sports / Health > New.
The name is Sleep as Android for Gear Fit 2 and for some reason you cannot find it with search. At least today – hopefully that’s just a temporary issue.
How does this work?
You might have noticed that Sleep as Android for Gear Fit 2 is a watchface. As Samsung wouldn’t let us publish a full-fledged app, we had to resort to this little hack.
When you install the watchface, it gets added to the list of your watchfaces. To switch to it, just long hold on your current watchface. This will bring up watchface selection menu. Choose Sleep as Android. You can now start sleep tracking from the watch, and it will start up Sleep as Android on the phone as you may be familiar with from other wearables.
So one way of using the watchface is to change to it in the evening, do your sleep tracking, and in the morning (after the alarm), change to your usual “day” watchface.
Now, what happens when you start sleep tracking from the phone (or have an alarm) and you don’t have the watchface active? It may surprise you (it did surprise us!), but it will still work. The only difference is that no UI will show up. The phone will start a service on the watch (the service is what handles sleep tracking an alarms on the watch), but we cannot show any graphics.
In this case, you can either activate the watchface, or handle the tracking/alarm on the phone.
So, what was the problem all along?
We wrote earlier about the issues connected to publishing apps for the Gear Fit 2. Samsung doesn’t want anyone except some of their close partners (big names like Spotify) to publish apps for this watch. Reason unknown, but having been in close contact with Gear Fit 2 for some time, I guess that it’s partly a marketing decision, but also that the watch has pretty shoddy firmware, which isn’t up to par with other fully supported Tizen watches like S2 or S3. It’s missing some functions important for apps, and you only have to guess which ones since it’s not documented anywhere.
The watch UI also isn’t able to handle loads of apps. Having only a linear app selection menu, it becomes unwieldy very fast with the growing number of installed apps.
While these issues wouldn’t be making the developer’s life easy on the device, they don’t feel like good enough reasons to scratch the app development altogether. The Gear Fit 2 is, in my opinion, a very nice watch/band hybrid, in fact much more practical than the circular Samsung watches.
I believe that we now prove that it can still be made phenomenal when you add some useful apps to the mix – like Sleep as Android.