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Google’s Smartwatch Future Is Called Android Wear

by Brandon Russell | March 18, 2014March 18, 2014 9:08 am PDT

Google on Tuesday finally detailed the future of Android wearables. We knew a big unveil was coming, and now we know what to expect later this year: it comes in the form of Android Wear, a new project that essentially puts the very best aspects of Google Now right on your wrist. As you can see in the video, everything can be controlled with your voice (or with a simple touch)—the experience is contextual, too, with alerts, warnings, notifications, and messaging all showing up right there on your wrist. At the beach? Android Wear will provide you with a Jelly Fish warning even before stepping foot in the ocean.

The system is described as “Information when you need it most—at a glance or in a word.” Google Now is one of Google’s most useful services, but putting in right on your wrist is even more powerful than on something in your pocket. The video demonstrates many situations when Android Wear will come in handy, and you can perform every simple task without touching your smartphone, which is not something other smartwatches today are capable of. The search giant said Android Wear will provide updates from a variety of Android apps, from social, to your preferred messaging apps, news and more.

A ton of different hardware is shown off, so it doesn’t appear anything final has been built just yet. Last month, TechnoBuffalo learned that LG would be one of the first to build a Google smartwatch, but there might be others later this year as well. Earlier this month Google said it would release an SDK for developers that would make is super simple for wearables to “talk” to other Android devices. The company’s vision for the wearable market, explained Google’s SVP of Android, Sundar Pichai, is figuring out how a device’s sensor could convey data to Android, and then interpreting that data to a user.

According to Google, the company has already started working with HTC, LG, Motorola and Samsung, as well as Fossil Group to bring users powerful smartwatches later this year. Chip makers Broadcom, Imagination, Intel, Mediatek and Qualcomm are also onboard, Google said.

Expanding further on Android Wear’s voice capabilities, instead of grabbing your smartphone in your pocket, you’ll be able to say “Ok Google” and perform any number of actions, such as asking questions or messaging a friend. Additionally, Android Wear will be able to monitor your health and fitness, integrating with your favorite fitness apps so you can get real-time speed, distance and time information as you’re exercising. As expected, Android Wear will also give you the capability to control your smartphone, like bringing up a music playlist—the possibilities will depend on what developers dream up.

It’s already a little awkward speaking to your phone, so the act of doing so to a watch on your wrist will certainly take some getting used to. But stuff Google Now capabilities onto a wearable is a big step toward a brighter future, and will help keep our distracted brain aware of traffic, news, and other alerts at all times. Ok Google, I’m ready. For a deeper look at what to expect from Google’s Android smartwatch future, you can check out the developer preview video below.

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Brandon Russell

Brandon Russell enjoys writing about technology and entertainment. When he's not watching Back to the Future, you can find him on a hike or watching...


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