A comparative study of smartphone and smartwatch apps

Xiao Chen, Wanli Chen, Kui Liu, Chunyang Chen, Li Li

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference PaperResearchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Despite that our community has spent numerous efforts on analyzing mobile apps, there is no study proposed for characterizing the relationship between smartphone and smartwatch apps. To fill this gap, we present to the community a comparative study of smartphone and smartwatch apps, aiming at understanding the status quo of cross-phone/watch apps. Specifically, in this work, we first collect a set of cross-phone/watch app pairs and then experimentally look into them to explore their similarities or dissimilarities from different perspectives. Experimental results show that (1) Approximately, up to 40% of resource files, 30% of code methods are reused between smartphone/watch app pairs, (2) Smartphone apps may require more than twice as many as permissions and adopt more than five times as many as user interactions than their watch counterparts, and (3) Smartwatch apps can be released as either standalone (can be run independently) or companion versions (i.e., have to co-work with their smartphone counterparts), for which the former type of apps tends to require more permissions and reuse more code, involve more user interactions than the latter type. Our findings can help developers and researchers understand the ecosystem of smartwatch apps and further gain insight into migrating smartphone apps for smartwatches.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe 36th Annual ACM Symposium on Applied Computing
EditorsAlessio Bechini, Eunjee Song
Place of PublicationNew York NY USA
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery (ACM)
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9781450381048
Publication statusPublished - 2021
EventACM Symposium on Applied Computing 2021 - Virtual, Korea, Republic of (South)
Duration: 22 Mar 202126 Mar 2021
Conference number: 36th
https://dl.acm.org/doi/proceedings/10.1145/3412841 (Proceedings)
https://www.sigapp.org/sac/sac2021/ (Website)


ConferenceACM Symposium on Applied Computing 2021
Abbreviated titleSAC 2021
Country/TerritoryKorea, Republic of (South)
Internet address


  • Android
  • mobile software engineering
  • smartwatch
  • static code analysis

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