March 19, 2014
Android Wear Is The Newest Fashion Statement From Google
Enid Burns for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
Google is donning the wearables label in the form of fully-fashioned smartwatches. The search engine and developer behind the mobile platform, Android, this week released news of Android Wear, a project that extends Android to wearables. Details of the new category for Android were posted to the Official Android Blog.
Many smartwatch designs have been based on Android, however the new venture from Google offers a robust framework for developers to work with. Google hopes to foster an ecosystem of watches running on Android Wear.
As a wearable, smartwatches powered by Android Wear offer message alerts as well as some of the notifications one would see on their smartphone. The watch will display text messages and allow the wearer to respond with spoken word, dictating the return text message. The watch also syncs to location and the user's personal account to provide information such as weather and meetings saved to Google Calendar. The watch is also capable of Google Now functions, such as navigation and Internet of Things commands. In a demonstration video one wearer was able to open a garage door with the command, "OK Google, open garage."
Wearables "understand the context of the world around you, and you can interact with them simply and efficiently, with just a glance or a spoken word," wrote Sundar Pichai, SVP of Android, Chrome & Apps for Google, in the blog post.
Google makes a number of promises with Android Wear: Useful information; straight answers to spoken questions; the ability to better monitor your health and fitness; your key to a multiscreen world. By integrating Google Now into the framework, the watch is able to respond to requests from the user. It also opens the capabilities of the smartwatch by allowing the user to have Google Now conduct searches to find information such as nearby restaurants and services.
While there is convenience to being able to speak to a watch and get answers back on display, or speak a response to a text message, it also brings to mind the fictional detective Dick Tracy, who had a watch that he was able to use like a phone. However, there may exist a high annoyance potential when people start speaking into the air, or into their watch.
It is possible that Google will produce a line of its own watches, however it is also offering Android Wear to developers to create their own watches. One of the benefits of Android Wear is that it will adapt to round or square screens, SlashGear reports. The feature will make it easier for developers to create their own design without having to modify the display settings, or conform to a single shape.
The round and square displays were influenced by Motorola, according to Slashgear.
"We had a chat with Motorola's Lior Ron, corporate vice president of product management on the MOTO 360 today as well. Ron let us know that Google's Android Wear support for circles and squares was at least partially due to Motorola's influence. 'That's one of the reasons we were very excited to work with Google on this product and this platform' Ron suggested, 'to support a wide range of devices on day one.'" SlashGear reports.
For the initial Android Wear development, square and round will be the only available shapes. Rectangle won't be an option for Android Wear smartwatches, at least in the first wave.