In one fell swoop, it looks like Google is ready to claim the wearables arena as its own just as it did with mobiles. The company has today announced Android Wear, a new platform tailored for wearable devices beginning with watches. By using its contextual know-how with Google Now and its wearable knowledge gleaned from Google Glass, Android Wear looks likely to be the key driver for wearable devices in the immediate future.
In the next quarter, smartwatches powered by Android Wear will begin appearing. Google has partnered with various consumer electronics brands (Samsung, ASUS, LG, HTC and Motorola), chip makers (Intel, Qualcomm, Broadcom, Imagination and Mediatek) and even a fashion brand (Fossil) to introduce various smartwatches powered by Android Wear later this year.
In fact, the first smartwatches running on this new platform has already cropped up. LG has announced the G Watch, while soon after Motorola announced the beautiful Moto 360. We’re pretty sure the other companies will be announcing their own smartwatches pretty soon.
The beauty of Android Wear is in its contextual awareness. Just like Google Now, Android Wear promises to deliver information to you, precisely when you need them. The new UI is highly glanceable, providing the most relevant information to you without having to search for it. It also appears that Android Wear will support push notifications for various Android apps to deliver notifications from your phone to your Android Wear device. In the concept video, we can see that Hangouts is prominently on display, and the man in the video above is replying a message by voice alone.
Yup, Android Wear will be heavily based on gestures and an always-on voice recognition system similar to the Moto X. You can perform various tasks just by starting your request with an “OK Google”, or reply messages by saying “Reply”. With no buttons to press or hold, Android Wear looks excitingly intuitive – though we’re not quite sure how people would respond to you shouting commands at your wrist in noisy environments.
Once more, we’re seeing greater emphasis of mobile devices in fitness and health. Android Wear detects users’ movements and activities, as well as supports various fitness apps which can push reminders and of course, real-time information of your exercise (such as distance, speed and time).
Finally, Android Wear will not only be able to communicate with an Android device, but also with the Google Chromecast, allowing you to fire up your favourite movie or TV series to your HDTV.
For now, a lot of what Android Wear offers are just concepts. Google has released a Developer Preview for Android Wear, and has promised that the Android Wear SDK will be coming soon, featuring APIs and various tools for developers to create exciting new innovation on Android Wear.
Looks like wearable devices just got the shot in the arm it badly needed.
(Source: Google Blog)