Google today announced Android Wear, a version of the Android operating system meant for wearable devices like smartwatches. The project is available as a Developer Preview to registered Android developers, and Google’s initial manufacturing partner lineup includes Asus, HTC, LG, Motorola and Samsung.
The launch comes just a week after Android chief Sundar Pichai had hinted that Google would soon be releasing a version of Android meant for wearables.
The main highlights of Android Wear would be its ability to show you relevant information based on your location, voice-based interface, health and fitness, and more.
Here are the features described in detail, from Google’s post:
- Useful information when you need it most. Android Wear shows you info and suggestions you need, right when you need them. The wide variety of Android applications means you’ll receive the latest posts and updates from your favorite social apps, chats from your preferred messaging apps, notifications from shopping, news and photography apps, and more.
- Straight answers to spoken questions. Just say “Ok Google” to ask questions, like how many calories are in an avocado, what time your flight leaves, and the score of the game. Or say “Ok Google” to get stuff done, like calling a taxi, sending a text, making a restaurant reservation or setting an alarm.
- The ability to better monitor your health and fitness. Hit your exercise goals with reminders and fitness summaries from Android Wear. Your favorite fitness apps can give you real-time speed, distance and time information on your wrist for your run, cycle or walk.
- Your key to a multiscreen world. Android Wear lets you access and control other devices from your wrist. Just say “Ok Google” to fire up a music playlist on your phone, or cast your favorite movie to your TV. There’s a lot of possibilities here so we’re eager to see what developers build.
The core idea behind Android Wear is having the most relevant information be ready for you all the time, and you can perform an action in response to this information with your voice. The Android Wear preview video highlights a number of situations, where Google thinks wearable devices will be useful in daily life:
If you’re a developer, you can visit developer.android.com/wear to download a developer preview of Android Wear, and start extending and developing your apps for the wearable platform.
Apart from manufacturers, Google is also working with chip makers and fashion companies to help make Android Wear smartwatches. LG has said that it’ll launch the G Watch, a Wear-powered smartwatch, in the next quarter. Motorola has also previewed its Moto 360 smartwatch, another Wear-powered device.
Wearable devices have been touted to be the next big thing in technology, and with Apple’s rumored entry into this market, Android Wear is quite significant. While there are a number of existing wearable devices (smartwatches mainly), Google is probably the biggest and the most likeliest player to make the most impact to the wearable device category.
Let us know what you think about Android Wear, and the Moto 360 in the comments below.
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