At Google’s I/O developer conference this year, the company has revealed more about its latest platform built just for wearables: Android Wear. Signalling a huge push for wearables from Google, the company has shown off more details about the platform’s UI and its stunning integration with Android as well as the Android TV platform.
As many remember, the entire interface of Android Wear was built to deliver contextual information when you need it. It did appear overly ideal in its original teaser, but in reality, it isn’t too far off. Android Wear provides a simple interface using vertical swipes to scroll through notifications and, whenever necessary, contextual information.
These notifications and information are all relayed in a style visually similar to Google Now’s cards, allowing you to swipe them away when you don’t need them. On top of that, whenever there’s more information to be relayed – or for additional actions that can be taken from a notification – there’s a side-swipe gesture. For example, if there’s a notification for a meeting that’s coming up, a side swipe gesture will offer options to navigate or call the person you’re meeting. It’s highly intuitive and something that is seemingly way ahead of its time.
In addition, Android Wear is constantly in sync with the connected Android device. Notifications that you swipe away on Android Wear is also dismissed on the Android device. In that same vein, you can also answer or reject calls from Android Wear. And, if you’re in the mood to disconnect, a swipe down at the top-most notification will mute the device, not alerting you from any notifications.
Speaking of which, Android Wear also heavily utilizes voice control. Google says it has invested a significant amount of resources building its voice recognition system, and in the demos shown at the keynote, it does appear to be very robust. You can search straight from your Android Wear device by using just your voice, add a note or a calendar entry, and of course, set an alarm.
And, as rumoured just a few days ago, Samsung also showed off the Gear Live, its first Android Wear device. The keynote also saw LG and Motorola officially announcing the G Watch and the Moto 360. Both the Samsung Gear Live and the LG G Watch will be available to order today at the Google Play Store – naturally, that doesn’t apply to us in Malaysia – and the Moto 360 will be available later this summer. There’s no further information on the prices of all three smartwatches. [Update @ June 26, 4:43am] The LG G Watch will retail for $229 and the Samsung Gear Live will be sold at $199.
For developers, the Android Wear SDK will also be available for download today, allowing them to build custom UI, and make use of the sensors and syncing capabilities the platform has to offer. Google is also giving out either a G Watch or a Gear Live to all attendees at the keynote, and a Moto 360 when it is available, helping developers accelerate development on the platform.