Thursday, 20 March 2014

Everything you need to know about Android Wear and wearables

There was one obstacle between wearable technology and success - and that was style.

Now, thanks to Android Wear and the commitment from manufacturers, we've overcome that obstacle. On Tuesday 18th March, Google announced the first OS that makes wearables (smartwatches) really appeal to the consumer market. The OS (as seen below) maximises Google Now and we can now see how Google see Google Now in the long run.

Here's what Google say about Android Wear:
  • 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.

Despite only being announced on Tuesday, we've already seen exciting devices launched by Motorola and LG. We could also be looking at HTC's first entry when they launch the HTC One 2014 on Tuesday (which I'll be live Tweeting from) and we know for sure that Samsung and ASUS are soon to join the party.

So what have we got so far?

Moto 360

Launched by Motorola, the Moto 360 is perhaps the most exciting Android Wear launched this week.

Aside from being your everyday time-telling watch (and not a bad-looking one either), the Moto 360 will display everything Google Now would usually inform on: weather, live-scores, meetings and locations. Not only that, the Moto 360 will have Google Maps integrated and be able to provide turn-by-turn instructions, as well as delivering normal messages such as email, text and Google Hangouts.

Alongside Motorola, LG also joined the fun by announcing the LG G Watch.

LG have been very general on the details of the G Watch so far but here's what Dr Jong-Seok Park, LG CEO, said:

"The opportunity to work with Google on LG G Watch was the perfect chance for LG to really pull out all stops in both design and engineering.

With the LG G Watch, LG is continuing the milestones we’ve set in wearables following in the foot-steps of the world’s first 3G Touch Watch Phone in 2009 and the Prada Link in 2008. We’re confident that a well-designed device has the potential to take the smart wearable market by storm.”

Going off what we can see - LG seems to be heading along the lines of the Pebble and the Gear with the rectangle design. We can only assume that the OS will function in a similar way to the Moto 360 and Google Now integration.

Further additions to the Android Wear amoury will be added shortly and I'll update you when they're announced. 

To summarise all of this - the beauty of Android Wear (and in particular the work of the manufacturers) has suddenly made the smartwatch a desirable item. That's a big step.

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