Video: An In-Depth Look at Android Wear, Google's Smartwatch OS
Earlier this week, Google confirmed the long-running suspicions that it was getting into the smartwatch race. The tech giant announced an ambitious software project that they hope will win the masses over on wearable technology.
They’re calling it, Android Wear.
Android Wear, even as little as we know about it right now, is a notification-focused branch of Android built exclusively for wearables like the smartwatch. The slogan of the project is “information that moves with you,” painting a picture of a device that keeps the data and apps you want instantly at your fingertips.
But thankfully, not all that much picture painting is required, since Google and some partnered manufacturers like Motorola have released videos and images of Android Wear in action.
Features, apps and services on Android Wear devices will provide you the information you’re most commonly after, such as posts and updates from social apps, chat messages from your “preferred messaging apps,” as well as weather, news, and sports updates. At its core, the watch is very notification-focused, and all about giving you information and taking quick commands.
The “Ok Google” functionality that Google has been rolling out to Android and Chrome-enabled devices recently will also be more instantly available, and robust, on your wrist. You can ask your watch direct questions like “what’s the Syracuse score,” or even dish out commands to send a text, call a taxi to your location, or set an alarm.
The whole miniature OS works on a cards-based system, which means users can swipe vertically between apps to see their notifications and data, and horizontally across an app to see its many functions.
Android Wear will be available on a number of watches starting this year, with notable companies like Motorola and LG already making headlines with their Moto 360 and G Watch watches respectively. Other on board phone makers include Asus, HTC, and Samsung; chip makers Broadcom, Imagination, Intel, Mediatek and Qualcomm, and fashion brands like Fossil Group.
What’s interesting about Google’s take on the smartwatch is its design of Android Wear, specifically letting it conform to more than one screen shape factor. Smartwatches before Android Wear have largely been square and often resemble toys and gadgets than an elegant timepiece. Products like the Moto 360, which runs Android Wear and releases this summer, aim to change that with the introduction of a round, all-metal form factor.
Google must be proud of it too, since it’s the watch shown most often in its trailer and developer preview videos for Android Wear. And while some see the Android Wear as the foretold coming of the smartwatch messiah, there are some aspects of design that we hope Android Wear watches nail.
Features like a week-long battery instead of just day-long, classy options that match your style, like classic watches, and make app porting for developers a breeze, are just a few.
Now, with Google’s own conference, Google I/O right around the corner in June, it shouldn’t be too long until we hear more about their plans for the future.
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