Suunto 7 gets GBOARD in Wear OS update

Suunto 7 gets GBOARD in Wear OS update


Wear OS has just had an update and it seems to be available for most recent Wear OS watches including the Suunto 7.

Q: Will this make me faster?

A: No, it will make you slower as it doesn’t work too well and, in any case, it has nothing to do with sport. It’s a smart feature.

How Do I get GBOARD for Wear OS?

If you really want GBOARD then you download it from the Google PLAY Store and I did that on my watch over WiFi.

What is GBOARD

GBOARD was a project for the intern in Google’s ‘clever name’ department. The intern was given 30 minutes to come up with a name for the new GOOGLE KEYBOARD that works on Wear OS ie on their smartwatches.

After rejecting the first suggestion of G-KEYBOARD, management settled on the name GBOARD.

OK, it’s a new software keyboard for Wear OS

How Do I Use GBOARD for Wear OS?

A: With some difficulty…

Wear OS always had a keyboard feature which was a helpful alternative to voice-search when looking for non-phonetically named apps like ‘Suunto’ or ‘Strava’. Usually, I would use voice-search to reasonably good effect but some words just weren’t designed for the English language. Those words need us to use our smallest finger to tap the tiniest amount of screen space on even a relatively large watch like the Suunto 7.

Roll on the new, improved keyboard – the GBOARD – which still enables us to tap the letters out in good-old 19th-century style I like the idea of the rather snazzy option whereby you drag your fingers over the screen from one letter to the next of the word you want to spell. In the following video, I was trying to find the Suunto app and, as you can see, I had some difficulties dragging my finger from a ‘U’ immediately to another ‘U’. I guessed I had to tap the screen at that point. #Shrug #Intuitive?

Voice typing is of course still supported and there are many more subtleties, check out the full details here on the Play Store.

Direct Youtube Link

Some thoughts

I’m an averagely proportioned person. Half of the global population must have bigger fingers than mine and must find this sort of mini-screen-keyboard nigh on impossible to use. I can just about get them to acceptably work by using my little finger.

I watched a few other videos and people really do seem to be able to get the slide-to-spell action to work. I gave in after 10 minutes. Other than learning that it didn’t work too well I did learn that this new technological innovation is called GLIDE TYPING…now you know.

On the positive side, my opinion is that Google’s voice recognition is pretty good with Google Assistant. I use it a fair amount when I wear Wear OS watches and I use it very frequently to control and query my Google Home speakers. Google Assistant works MUCH better than Siri both in terms of recognising what I say and then understanding what information or action I am trying to get it to respond with.

Compare that to Siri and I find Siri unusable. It doesn’t understand what I say and 8 times out of 10 comes back with useless nonsense. However the screen and keyboard on the smaller 44mm Apple Watch 6 and Apple Watch SE that I have actually both work well, in fact, better than the larger screen on Wear OS with the Suunto 7.

Links to gbaord app


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4 thoughts on “Suunto 7 gets GBOARD in Wear OS update

  1. Glide typing/swiping has been on Android for a while. On Android, you normally squiggle/pause on a letter to double type it. If it is a proper word or saved in your custom word list, it will correctly predict it even if you just go over it normally without pausing. It also gets better the longer you use it.

    I am sure it will be easier for people use the feature on your their phones. Oh, glide typing is also the reason why youngsters can type so fast.

      1. Correct, but the small screen on WearOS devices might be an issue.

        Gboard has also been released on iPhones, so take it for a spin there, you might like it. Oh, glide typing allows you to type with one thumb. It also helped me ditch the blackberry and switch to full touch screen devices.

      2. yes i’d used it before on my android phone, I don’t especially like it
        apple watch lets you draw the letter which has its issues but is not so bad for occasional usage and better than siri

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