With smartphones already doing their bit by lending location information to governments and authorities in order to undertake contact tracing and limit the spread of Covid-19, it now appears to be the turn for smartwatches to contribute to the fight. A new report, first published by Android Police, states that Google's Wear OS platform, previously known as Android Wear, is now sending regular reminders to smartwatch users to wash their hands in light of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
According to the report, users are being prompted by their Wear OS smartwatches to get off their chairs every three hours, and head to a wash basin. Once there, users can manually start the 40-second stopwatch that automatically appears on the watch, which is the entire duration of the recommendation time frame for which one should wash their hands to keep them well sanitised and maintain the least possible risk of contracting Covid-19.
The report further states that the feature is directly built into the clock app of the smartwatch, and if users find it too annoying, they can disable it too. However, the move does seem to be a pretty clever one. With most of us working from home, we often end up sitting at one position for too long. As a result, it is very important to move around every now and then in order to avoid muscle fatigue and body posture issues. Google's strategy with Wear OS, hence, seems to achieve two objectives at one go.
It is not quite clear if this feature was enabled by a system update delivered to Wear OS devices recently, or a server-end change that automatically reflected on all Wear OS smartwatches around the world. Either way, it is advisable that users keep their smartwatches regularly updated, in order to get the latest security patches and stay relatively free of zero-day bugs and other malware.