Google has let the world know it’s very serious about wearable technology, by announcing Android Wear, a splinter version of Android made especially for wearable devices. While Google says the sky is the limit regarding the hardware on which the OS could be installed, early devices will almost solely be smartwatches.
Android has been used on smartwatches already, but the majority of popular examples use their own proprietary software. The Pebble smartwatch, for example. However, this does make it awkward for building an app ecosystem, and for device compatibility. By introducing its own OS, Google can sidestep all these problems, and with the release of a software development kit, makes it easy for developers to convert their apps over to the new platform.
To give us a glimpse of this exciting future, Google has made a short video, showing how the operating system will look and work. While a touchscreen and simple gestures are at its core, Google has built-in voice control, just like Glass and smartphones such as the Moto X, plus extensive Google Now integration.
The watch is shown sending and receiving messages, providing navigation instructions, reminding the wearer of upcoming appointments, and even identifying the song playing over a loudspeaker. Interestingly, the device on which the OS is demonstrated has a round face – an unusual feature for modern smartwatches. It has since been revealed Motorola will launch one of the first Android Wear devices, the Moto 360, which could be the model in question. It’ll also be joined by the LG G Watch, and both should be on sale before the summer.
Android Wear is very exciting, and gives Google a real advantage in the growing wearable tech market. You can take a look at the demo video that the search giant has produced below.