Google has just launched Android Wear, an extension of the Android platform specifically designed for wearable devices like smartwatches.
Most of us have our smartphones with us 24/7, but what with how big they are getting now, it’s impossible to keep them ‘to hand’ for the entire day, as we need our hands to do other things besides.
Wristwatches are effective at telling us the time whilst keeping our hands free, thus they’reperceived as the perfect medium for glanceable information. That’s why the idea of smartwatches came about, as such a device could give users all the information they want when they need it, while also giving them the freedom to do other stuff with their hands.
Android Wear has been designed with two things in mind: support for voice control and contextual information.
Because it’s intended for devices with screens less than two inches in size, the priority was to make Android Wear responsive to voice commands or questions, whilst being able to deliver information just when the user needs it. Android Wear also supports swiping and tapping navigation to help users navigate their devices, stream media to other devices, and perform many other tasks.
To interact with Android Wear, all you need to do is say “OK Google,” followed by the command you want performed, such as sending a text, calling a taxi, making a restaurant reservation, setting an alarm, play your favorite song, stream your favorite movie on your TV, or to ask questions such as how much calorie an apple has, the score of today’s basketball game, what time your next meeting is, and so on.
Not only does Android Wear deliver the functionality of a smartphone right their on your wrist, it also supports fitness and health apps so you can view real-time information on your speed, distance and time when you go for a run, cycle or walk.
A Developer Preview is now available here, so interested parties can tailor their existing app notifications for wearables powered by Android Wear. Because Android for wearables works with Android’s rich notification system, many apps will already work well with Android Wear.
“We’re always seeking new ways for technology to help people live their lives and this is just another step in that journey. Here’s to getting the most out of the many screens you use every day—whether in your car, in your pocket or, very soon, on your wrist,” Sundar Pichai, SVP, Android, Chrome & Apps, posted on Google’s blog.
Google is currently working with several consumer electronics manufacturers including Asus, HTC, LG, Motorola and Samsung; chip makers Broadcom, Imagination, Intel, Mediatek and Qualcomm; and fashion brands like the Fossil Group to bring watches powered by Android Wear to consumers later this year.
Motorola and LG have already revealed their first smartwatches running Android Wear.
Not much information is known about the Moto 360 and the LG G Watch, but we can expect to learn more about the, as their launch date approaches. The Moto 360 is expected to come to market by Summer 2014, while the LG G Watch is expected to be out by Q3 2014.