The newest smartwatch apps, both for Apple and Android, have one thing in common, no phone required. Smartwatch users have come to expect that the apps on their watches should work, whether they have their smartphones with them or not. The arrival of watchOS 6 for Apple and Android Wear 2.0 means that users can use their watches to install apps directly to their watches without their phones. Standalone wear apps are here, for Android and iOS.  

Smartwatch Without the Smartphone

Smartwatches that still require a smartphone have always meant a higher price tag for consumers, but having to develop both a smartphone and a smartwatch app also meant more cost for companies and app developers. Now, with the capability for standalone wear apps, companies will have the ability to create an app made just for smartwatches.  

Many standalone wear apps will likely utilize functionality that is specific to a smartwatch; things like a watch’s GPS, speaker, or heart rate monitor. Apps that utilize the speaker could feature audiobooks, podcasts, albums, or radio, so wearers could listen to no matter where they are. Apps that utilize GPS or heart rate could be related to meditation, physical therapy, running, or other session-based activities. 

Businesses have an opportunity to create an app that goes with a user everywhere they go. Apps might help a user remember where they parked, create a shopping list, or track their sleep.  Of course, since smartwatch designs can vary across platforms, some watches may not have all the same features and functionality.

What is a standalone wear app

An independent smartwatch app that installs and runs without requiring access to an iOS or Android phone. Users can complete tasks independently on their smartwatches.

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Standalone Apps for iOS Users

For iOS users, the new smartwatch standalone capability comes as part of the new watchOS 6 update. In addition to new watch faces and updated apps, this update also introduced a dedicated App Store for the Apple Watch. Users can browse through the App Store or use a Siri-based voice search, and install all of the apps in the Apple Watch App Store without opening their iPhone.

There are already several standalone apps available in the Apple Watch App Store. While many of them will feel familiar to users, they also incorporate unique features for the watch. For example, the Calculator is new to the Apple Watch in watchOS 6. While the Calculator on the iPhone can handle addition, subtraction, and multiplication, the Calculator on your wrist includes a built-in tool for calculating a tip and splitting a bill with friends.

Other watchOS 6 apps include:

  • Noise – an app designed to measure the noise level of your environment
  • Audiobooks – designed to let you listen to your audiobooks on your wrist
  • Apple Watch Voice Memos – a dedicated app allowing users to record quick voice-based notes

Standalone Apps for Android Users

Android users are enjoying their standalone smartwatch apps thanks to the Android Wear 2.0 update. Similarly to the dedicated App Store for the Apple Watch, Android users will be able to install smartwatch apps from a dedicated version of the Play Store. Again, most of these are apps that users are already acquainted with but made fresh for the smartwatch. 

Some of the most prominent standalone apps include:

  • Hangouts for Wear – continue conversations on your smartwatch via voice, handwriting, swipe, or regular keyboard input
  • Play Music – updated for use with Wear 2.0
  • Google Fit – allows users to track their runs and bike trips via GPS
  • Google Maps – users can navigate to a destination with just their watch
  • Spotify – the streaming service is now available as a standalone app
  • – users can browse samples, listen to books, and have access to controls like forwarding, rewinding, and volume
  • Uber – users can access the ride-sharing service to request rides, see prices, see their driver, and watch the ride progress
  • Telegram – users will be able to use the instant messaging app to create and reply to messages, send stickers, and send photos

Could your business benefit from a standalone wear app? We can build one for you. At Copper Mobile, we can define, design, develop, dry-run, and deliver the right standalone wear app for your business.