LG Watch Urbane gave up on me!

At some point, everything will fail. And for my LG watch Urbane, fail it did. It wasn’t epic. Rather it was quiet. One morning, after it sat in the charger all night, it didn’t power on. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t make it power on. Wiggling it around on the charger didn’t seem to help either.

So, I took it apart. Everything seemed in order, but the battery was dead. Using a regular cell phone battery with a few wires, I hot wired it and was able to start the watch. It would appear that the built in battery was just dead. The question was, though, has the battery failed, or the in watch charger circuit quit charging.

A few quick searches online taught me that I could buy a new battery for about $35, shipped to my house. But, I also noticed that for $50, I could just buy another used Urbane watch that was working. So, I decided for the later. In less than a week, I was wearing my new to me Urbane, as if nothing had ever happened.

Begs the question though, what about the old watch? I think I’ll tinker on it more later when I have some time. It’s hard to charge and check voltages because of the unique carrier/charge caddy you have to put it into in order to charge it. I’ll probably wire something in and see how it works then.

In the mean time, I’ll just wear my new to me watch!

Linux – keep it simple.

Still using AsteroidOS and loving it!

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A while back I switched my LG Watch Urbane (bass) from Android Wear to AsteroidOS. My initial reaction was really positive, but I wanted to come back to post later on how the long term use was going. Truth is, it’s great!

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Don’t get me wrong, Android Wear had some nice features, a few of which I still miss. Most notably the one where the motion of turning your watch towards your face caused the screen to turn on.

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But other than that, AsteroidOS has met every need I have in a smart watch. Most notably that of telling time and the synchronized phone notification. Of course the weather and calendar apps are handy too. When it really comes down to it, I realized that I didn’t use Androids thousands of apps on my watch because the screen is too small. Why would anyone watch an HD movie on a 1.5″ screen?

AsteroidOS has really been great at having useful apps that one would actually want to use on the small screen, which just makes sense. I’ve also gone weeks or more without rebooting the watch. The firmware is really robust and never seems to have an issue.

The best part of all? The battery life is phenomenal! Since switching, I went from about 9 or 10 hours with Android Wear to 2 days with AsteroidOS. And that’s a win win for me!

Linux – keep it simple.

AsteroidOS on my LG Urbane

I took a little break from my main project to try out AsteroidOS on my LG Watch Urbane (Bass). I have to admit, I really like it. If you don’t know, AsteroidOS is the free and open source alternative to Google’s Android Wear operating system.

Don’t get me wrong, Google’s Android Wear is a great product. However, I don’t like how you cannot build your own custom ROMs from it, like you can with Android itself. You can also only access your Google Wear watch with Google’s apps installed, which is somewhat lame.

One thing that Android Wear still has a leg up on over AsteroidOS is that AW has many, many more apps. What I came to realize after using AsteroidOS for a week was that I didn’t miss one of them. Actually, the only thing I really use my smart watch for is, well, as a watch that notifies me that I have a text or phone call. Since the notification pops up on the watch face, I can determine if it is important enough to pull my phone out of my pocket or not.

Hopefully that doesn’t give you the impression that AsteroidOS is not a full feature wearable operating system, though, because that would be wrong. By default it comes with a calendar, calculator, timers, stop watch, weather app and more. There are also several other apps that you can get for it, built by a growing open source community. I guess what I’m trying to point out, though, is that I love the simplicity of it.

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AsteroidOS also comes with it’s own controller app, like Android Wear, but it’s open sourced, so you can have a look for yourself to see what’s going on under the hood. Or if you are really talented, you can edit it and modify it for your own needs.

It has a really great way for controlling notifications, but I did notice that you have to wait until you receive a notification from an app or the system to be able to edit the settings of that notification. By default it doesn’t know what apps you have installed, so it doesn’t list them until they actually post a notification. The first notification will show up on your watch, and then you can go into the app and decide the fate of future popups from that app, service, or function.

Just like Android Wear, AsteroidOS has a ton of watch faces made by users, or you can make your own with their SDK. The background of the watch face can also be changed, and there are numerous other options as well. It’s simple, but in a sleek sort of way.

There is one thing I don’t like, though. There is no selectable “always on” setting. You can enable it via usb, through an ssh connection to the watch. However, with this enabled, the watch will never sleep, and battery life suffered horribly, so I don’t recommend it.

However, with the default time delay mode, the watch face stays off until you swipe the screen or push the watch button, and I found battery life to be twice what it was when using Android Wear. So that is a big win for me. Before AsteroidOS, I often barely made it through the day, putting the watch back on the charger at single digit percentages. Now, with AsteroidOS, I find that I’m putting the watch back in the cradle with around 50% battery life left!

Oh, and one more thing: no more wasted data! With Android Wear, my phone was always “searching for WearOS updates”. This search burned several gigs of data per month! Fortunately, AsteroidOS doesn’t waste my data at all, with the exception of periodic weather updates, which seems to happen fairly infrequently when you are not looking at it.

Overall, I’m hooked.

Linux – keep it simple.

TWRP on the Urbane!

One of the side projects I have been working on is playing around with my new to me smart watch, an LG Urbane (W150). Among the different projects, I built TWRP for it. It had already been built before, but I like to build my own as well. You can download it here if you want:

http://www.mediafire.com/folder/2xfs23b79kfzo/Urbane

One of the little highlights I did to make it more fun was to add a custom slider to the build. Now when you unlock or use the slider, you will see my icon on the slider!

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Your welcome to use it if you like. Or you can head over to the TWRP homepage and download the official versions.

Linux – keep it simple.