Wareable picks: Our 'killer' apps

Updated: Team Wareable picks their go to apps and what they want to see next
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As we've previously argued, there is no single, 'killer' app for wearable tech and that's OK. That's why when you're reading our best apps lists, there should in theory be something for everyone: fitness, parenting, gaming, time management, whatever it is that can improve your life in big or small ways.

We've done the big, obvious lists of best Apple Watch apps, best Android Wear apps and best Pebble apps. And we've started to get to grips with the best apps and games for VR headsets like the Samsung Gear VR as well as two way data sharing between health and fitness apps and bands, trackers and smart clothing.

Read this: Wareable 50 One Year On - how did our gamechangers get on?

Now, to add to those collections, here's our killer apps past and present. These are simply the apps we use a lot day to day or else the ones we are most impressed with. Plus we set out exactly what we want wearable and smartwatch app developers to build us next.

Obviously we're only covering six apps/use cases here and there are already thousands. Let us know which apps you actually use and what you want to see in the comments below and on the Wareable Forum.

Paul Lamkin - Editor in chief

Now - Microsoft Health

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I'm obsessed with Microsoft Health at the moment. The first Microsoft Band was a total abomination but Health, as a platform, showed a lot of promise. The recent updates and, most notably, the web dashboard is a veritable feast of stats and info.

Unlike some other fitness platforms, which simply present your tracked data in an array of colourful graphs, Microsoft Health allows you to drill down in detail on particular aspects, plot trends and patterns, and even offers guidance as to what everything means. The sooner third party apps come to the Microsoft party the better. There are already some big partners but we want more.

Next - Spotify done properly

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I wanted to pick a dream smartwatch app but there isn't one yet. Spotify would be my ideal choice. Full blown, offline synced up Spotify, that's what I want.

With offline music already available on Android Wear and Apple Watch I don't really understand why we're still waiting. Get a move on.

James Stables - Senior editor

Now - Citymapper


It's totally obvious, but it's probably CityMapper that gets the most use on my Apple Watch – I use it every day. The directions are a bit of a faff but I love the London tube disruption glance.

My only gripe is that I wish it pushed details of problems to my watch rather than relying on me to check. It would be even nicer if it used my location to nudge me about disruption about lines accessible from my local station and/or on my normal way home. I can dream, can't I?

Next - Golf wearables in an app

As a golfer I'm very used to clipping things onto my clubs or gloves in order to get more details about my swing and how to improve. So my killer app would be to move this to the smartwatch.

Placed on the wrist, smartwatches are in a prime location to monitor the shape of your swing. They all have accelerometers which are capable of doing the job. Most watches are also paired to smartphones, which can sit in your pocket to feedback on hip motion. This is essentially the functionality of Zepp, but within tech you already own.

I'd take it even further, too. Hole19 for Apple Watch already does on course range finding, so bung that functionality in the app, and likewise, ape the Microsoft Band's ability to automatically count your shots on the course. The end result is the ultimate golf companion, without buying any new hardware.

Sophie Charara - Contributing editor

Now - Get Up Stand Up

Wareable picks: Our 'killer' apps

At first I thought, fuck it pick Uber. I live in the city, I wear smartwatches, I'm last minute and I'm the kind of person who blows my wage in the first week of the month on food, booze and really convenient cabs. So yes, I actually use the Uber app on watches like Pebble. Pretty often.

But then I thought, why not pick my 'killer' app as the app which could, you know, only go and save my life eventually. In which case Get Up Stand Up - or the equivalents on other platforms - is it as I work in an office eight hours a day. It buzzes when I've been sat down too long, can be set to only work on certain days (Monday to Friday, say) and the frequency can be tweaked too. That's it.

Because my smartphone is mostly in my bag, it's also a perfect example of something that couldn't help me personally unless I was wearing it. Plus I don't mind tech nagging as long as it's on my terms and I can turn it off.

Next - An assistant to sort my life out

Wareable picks: Our 'killer' apps

My dream wearable tech app is a bit more complicated. It's basically my favourite features from virtual assistants and contextual operating systems all scrambled up into one tasty, cloud based, genuinely helpful app. It doesn't have to be smartwatch only, I'd probably need it to work at least across a hearable and a smart home hub too.

I need my watch to buzz and my earbud to rush me when my new virtual buddy has worked out - due to traffic or bus timetables - that I'm going to be late if I don't leave in the next two minutes. And I need the Hue lights in my flat to go nuts to get me properly panicked. Also, can it please connect via Bluetooth to my keys, phone and other bits and bobs and holler when I'm leaving without them? And check my fridge for me and re-jig my reminders and to-do list. Thanks.

Basically, I'd like an AI app to take over all the bits of my life I still struggle with as an actual 27 year old adult. So a next gen Google Now plus Olio Assist multiplied by Nest, then.

Dan Sung - Features editor

Now - Facer

Wareable picks: Our 'killer' apps

Show me some face! I don't care what a smartwatch can do. I just want them to look amazing, and most tech manufacturers out there have absolutely no idea what I digital representations of a clock face I want to see around my wrist. With the biggest player in town getting excited about a Mickey Mouse watch, I think we'll all agree that's case and point.

That's where custom watch face apps like Facer for Android Wear come in. They highjack your wearable OS to allow whatever kind of design you'd like. Most have a builder but, frankly, my design skills aren't all that. Instead, you'll find a huge community of skilled enthusiasts with some astonishing creations for you to download for free. You also might find the odd face that looks like one you already recognise. Know what I mean?

Next - PersonalTrainer

Wareable picks: Our 'killer' apps

That's the working title for this ultimate fitness app. It ties into all the biometrics that your wearable sensors can throw at it - heart rate, blood pressure, blood glucose, stress levels, sleep patterns, body fat; the lot. That's the easy part. The real brains are the algorithms to match some of the time minds behind it which will then tell you exactly what kind of exercise you need to do, when and how intensely to achieve your fitness goals.

Some of the running apps have got this together but most of us are human beings. We run, we cycle, we swim, we play squash, we run around after our kids, we walk to work and we might not do it in line with any particular routine. PersonalTrainer will have a grip on where your body's at and suggests what you might want to do next. Oh, and maybe tell us what to eat too might be nice.


How we test


Sophie was Wareable's associate editor. She joined the team from Stuff magazine where she was an in-house reviewer. For three and a half years, she tested every smartphone, tablet, and robot vacuum that mattered. 

A fan of thoughtful design, innovative apps, and that Spike Jonze film, she is currently wondering how many fitness tracker reviews it will take to get her fit. Current bet: 19.

Sophie has also written for a host of sites, including Metro, the Evening Standard, the Times, the Telegraph, Little White Lies, the Press Association and the Debrief.

She now works for Wired.

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