A key group of core apps helps keep my Pebble on my wrist every day
It's not every day that I effective fall in love with a device. The simple fact is we've got too many toys that come through here, and it's a fool's game to become smitten with one for any amount of time — something newer and better is always on the way. But for several months now — since its announcement at CES in January, actually — for me that's been the Pebble Steel.
I'd used the original Pebble for many months before that and was mostly happy with it. I'm not a watch person. Haven't warn one in years. But the jump from rubber and plastic to stainless steel was too much to resist. So I ponied up and paid for one myself.
What am I doing with my Pebble Steel, a few months into it? On one hand, not a whole lot. I'm not switching watchfaces every day. I'm not trying every app in the catalog. But the ones I do use, I use every day. I'm ignoring email and other notifications, mostly, and instead focusing on the more direct apps and watchfaces.
So here's here I'm using my Pebble Steel.
My go-to watchface generally is this one, with the time spelled out and the hour in bold. Not that reading a normal watchface taxes my brain too much — it's just that this one looks different than most normal watches, so anyone who sees it is going to wonder what's strapped to my wrist. (Yes, for me it's a vanity watchface.)
Sometimes I'll use the "Modern" watchface as well. It's got a more traditional look to it. I leave the second-hand turned on, as well as the day and date, and the weather. I turn off the Pebble logo, though, since it's also on the face of the Pebble Steel.
If I'm traveling in Europe, I switch over to Big Time. Large numbers, and it does the 24-hour style, as do many places outside the U.S. Again, doing that conversion in my head isn't a big deal. But using Big Time in 24-hour mode means I don't have to worry about it. I just make sure the number on the watch match up with whatever time I'm supposed to be somewhere, and we're good.
Plus, my grade-school-age daughter likes to add the two digit numbers together for fun.
For music ... Probably the app I use most on my Pebble is the built-in remote for Google Play Music. I listen to a lot of music once I get home, and I don't always have my phone in my pocket then. So Pebble makes switching songs a breeze.
For comfort ... Second to that is the Leaf app for controlling my Nest thermostat. It ... well, it just controls my Nest. I can turn the temperature up, and I can turn the temperature down. I can set the status to "Away" if I'm gone (and if it hasn't already done it on its own), and I can set it to "Home" if I'm back. And I can tell people "Hey, check this out. I can control my air conditioner from my watch. Which sounds way cooler to me than it does them. But I don't care. It's cool as hell.
For finding my way around ...And then there's Nav Me, which connects to Google Maps for navigation. Start up navigation on your phone, and your watch will relay the basics — directions, distance and time to go, and which way you'll be turning next. Your Pebble will vibrate on each waypoint. I'm not sure if I'd rely on this as my sole means of navigation, but it's a great companion should you miss a voice notification.
Android companion apps
For security ... There are a couple companion apps I use on Android alongside the official Pebble app. The first is Pebble Locker, which lets me use a PIN lock on the entire phone. But so long as the Pebble is connected, I won't have to actually enter the PIN. Pony up a couple bucks via an in-app purchase and the app expands to allow other Bluetooth devices and specific Wifi networks to keep the phone unlocked.
For notifying all the things ... The other app I use is Pebble Notifier. Not every Android app I have will ping Pebble out of the box. Specifically, I like to use it for Tripit for flight and gate information while I'm on the go. It's a lot easier to glance down at your watch than it is to dig a phone out of your pocket while you're lugging a couple carry-on bags through the Atlanta airport. But Pebble Notifier will kick over any notification from any other app you have installed as well.