Provide sensible alarm options for unsupported wearables like Withings watches

Hi, like others, I want to hook up Sleep as Android with a Withings device. My post is somewhat of a continuation of this post asking about support for Withings’ Scanwatch, but I didn’t want to hijack that thread because it’s more about API integration and I’d like to request a simpler fix.

I already had a brief look at the docs for Withings’ (public) API but I don’t do Android development so don’t really want to DIY my own solution at this point.

Also, for the time being, I’m primarily interested in making alarms go off on Withings wearables rather than sleep monitoring or other more fancy stuff. Because the Withings watches can be configured to receive notifications from other apps, and Sleep’s bedtime notifications do get put through to them already, I tried to figure out what the other notification types are for.

Not all of them are immediately obvious, so I had to experiment for a while. Sadly, I couldn’t get the actual alarm notification, labelled Alarm (Pop up) in my OS version, to work on the watch, after all. Of the notifications I tested/managed to test –Alarm (Pop up), Alarm, Backup, Bedtime, Before alarm notification, Sleep tracking – the only ones that seem to extend to the watch are:

  • Alarm, which is somewhat misleading and confusingly named considering there’s the aforementioned Alarm (Pop up) for the actual alarm as well: the plain Alarm one seems to apply to snooze notifications only, but it doesn’t make the watch buzz for the initial notif, only when the notification gets retriggered on:
    • opening the Alarms tab/page in the app while a snooze countdown is running,
    • opening the snoozed alarm itself while the snooze countdown is running,
    • tabbing out of the snoozed alarm while the snooze countdown is running,
  • Bedtime, which is helpful for what it’s meant to do, but obviously can’t be repurposed for alarms on the watch in a meaningful way,
  • Before alarm notification, whose purpose I don’t really understand – it gets set off immediately after setting an alarm < 60 minutes, not sure how that’s of use to anyone

I tried various combinations of settings to figure out which of the four “Importance” levels available for notifications make the watch buzz, but they don’t appear to matter at all. For notifications that are communicated to the device, the watch vibrates even when notifications are set to “No sound or visual interruption”, (!) meaning the notification in question has to be disabled altogether if one doesn’t want it to extend to the wearable.

I was initially wondering how Android notifications work on a lower level – why some make the watch go off and others don’t, and why the ones that do do so in any case, regardless of “Importance” – but other posts in here, some dating back years, seem to confirm that Sleep as Android simply ignores/overrides how notifications (are supposed to) work on Android…

Anyhow, I’m imagining it should be possible to implement an additional notification type as a (temporary) quick fix to make the app work with currently unsupported smartwatches, like the Withings models – or indeed any hardware that can receive notifications from other Android apps. Such a notification would, in effect, duplicate the behaviour of the actual Alarm notification called Alarm (Pop up) but with the ability to make the watch go off. Such an additional notif would, of course, have to be set to disabled by default, so as not to mess with the notification settings of the rest of the user base.

To go a step further:
Having had a closer look at all the currently available Sleep as Android settings, I could imagine this working in conjunction with, or building on, “Delayed alarm sound start”. I don’t know how that one works under the hood or what it’s for - is this for people who use sound + vibration, to make the vibration go off on time and start the sound with a delay? If so, it’s probably not possible to repurpose it from a technical standpoint in ways I’m imagining, i.e. to have the watch buzz on time (adhere to the actual alarm time), and have the alarm sound only come in after (because the watch doesn’t care about the vibration setting for notifications). But, the same principle would apply.

Hello @kay, unfortunately I do not think Withigs have any API which would allow or to vibrate the watch as an alarm nor sleep tracking with their sensors.

Regarding the notifications, the Alarm and Alarm (Pop-up) are the notifications which are shown when alarm starts. The pop-up one is for the headups notications shown when alarms starts and you are actively using the device. I’m not familiar with Withings, but did work with many different wearables in the past because of Sleep as Android and usually you need to explicitly configure which notification will go through in the app on your phone with is handling communication with the wearable…

Hi Petr, I wasn’t talking about an API-based solution, I’d hoped the start of my message and what I was talking about in more detail would make that clear. Looks like I’ve failed.

The Withings app does not allow one to choose between notification types for different applications, you can only enable entire applications.

Your comment unfortunately does not answer any of my actual questions or what I’m suggesting here.

The tl;dr of it is:

  • Why do some (see above for which) Sleep notifications make the watch vibrate and others don’t?
  • Why does Sleep disregard global Android settings?
  • Can’t you introduce an additional notification type that works like one of the existing ones that make the watch buzz, but gets triggered just like the Alarm notification (in lieu of an actual API integration)?

Hello @kay… sorry about that, I hope this answers some questions better: we are definitely not overriding how are notifications work on Android… the notifications are pretty standard…

Without a Withings device I cannot say why some are shown on the watch and some aren’t… I can only guess that from top of my head the Alarm (Pop-up) notification is an ongoing notification - it is shown to indicate a service is running - like alarm service… and for some reason Withings ignore ongoing notifications - but this is just my guess.

I’m not sure if we should hack this with some additional notification during alarms. I’m not sure if notifications are ideal for this - they will probably vibe just once and thus not guarantee wake up. Not sure if this happens just on Whithings or if this would be useful for other wearables which are also closed without and API…

Otherwise we try integrate almost every open wearable platform with an API. Please check:

And here is an open API which allows anyone hack another integration for his wearable:

But as you say this isn’t an option for you…

Hello i Totally support suggestions to integrate Withings even on alarm level Thanks in advance!