Google extends Android to wearables: introducing Android Wear

By , Mar 18, 2014

Google Android Wear (smartwatch 001)

Wearable computing is set to take off in a big way as the Internet giant Google on Tuesday introduced Android Wear, as previously promised.

Android Wear, as the name suggests, is meant to put Android on wearable devices such as smartwatches.

The company will be releasing soon the official Android Wear APIs to device vendors who want to put the power of Android in their health and fitness bands, smartwatches and other wearable gizmos.

Wearable devices driven by Android Wear include ‘OK, Google’ functionality and Android’s rich notification system. Moreover, they can show users timely information and suggestions akin to Google Now.

Health and fitness functions are supported as well: users can get their fitness summaries and set their goals with reminders. Fitness apps taking advantage of the Android Wear APIs can give users information such as real-time speed, distance and time for their run, cycle or walk.

Perhaps the most interesting bit is the ability of Android Wear devices to relay your voice commands to other devices such as smartphones, tablets or Chrome devices. Starting today, programmers can download a Developer Preview to tailor their existing app notifications for watches powered by Android Wear.

The company said that first Android-powered wearables are coming later this year. Jump past the fold for more information and a pair of pretty good promotional videos…

Google says it’s partnered with fashion brands like the Fossil Group, hardware manufacturers such as Asus, HTC, LG, Motorola and Samsung and chip makers Broadcom, Imagination, Intel, Mediatek and Qualcomm to “bring you watches powered by Android Wear later this year”.

Here’s a quick video tour of Android Wear.

The video is pretty nicely done.

That being said, I must admit that I really can’t picture myself talking to my watch on the train. It makes for a nice video presentation, but I just don’t see people around me conversing with Siri in public.

Although Android Wear is starting with smartwatches, the project is conceived to go well beyond wrist-worn devices and should include health and fitness bands and other form factors.

Some of the highlights of Android Wear include, according to Google:

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.

Developer should check out a new section focused on wearables on the Android website.

Google says a bunch of existing Android apps that support notifications should work well with Android Wear. The company will be soon releasing more developer resources and APIs soon.

LG has confirmed (via Engadget) that it is now working on an Android Wear smartwatch that should be released by this summer.

So, this is Google’s smartwatch project then.

Your move, Apple!

What are your initial thoughts on Android Wear?

Can Google replicate Android’s success in smartphones and tablets, only this time with Android-powered wearable devices?

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  • Jason Baroni

    Google can’t live without suggesting things to people. I actually don’t like it’s design, though.

  • Leonard Wong

    It works pretty much the same as other smartwatches in the market right now.
    Everything seems to be centered on Google Now, which is quite useless to me since it don’t track much of the stuff as Google didn’t release some features to international.

  • Breezy

    Even though I am a die hard apple fan, that watch with the circular face looks absolutely stunning.

    • Jeffrey

      it looks okay, but have you seen the moto 360?:P

      • Renii

        That watch is actually the Moto 360

      • Jeffrey

        OH lol im so damn stupid, i thought android wear was the watch in the video, but ur right, android wear is the os:P lol sorry

  • john diaz

    I want it!!!!

  • VITICO

    NIIIICEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!…

  • hkgsulphate

    2014 is really the year of wearables

    • Renii

      Or 4K video/displays

  • Obi__Wan

    As always, trying to copy apple. Google is the new microsoft. A video is not a product, it´s just something to make fell that google already has it. Everybody knows that apple it´s working on both sides: software and hardware, so this has no merit at all.

    • BozzyB

      How can you copy “nothing” ??

      • Rowan09

        He meant beating them to the market since it’s obvious Apple makes things cool.

    • grumpyfuzz

      Looks like you’re wrong… Moto and google are obviously working on the Moto 360 together, which will be released in the summer…

    • Jaden Keuten

      why did i see this comment coming…

  • Dean Johnson

    looks better than all the other smart watches that are on the market right now

  • Siddharth Desai

    Smartwatches are the most useless things. Oh look, I can talk to my watch!

  • felixtaf

    Wearables… Meh…

    Am not a cyborg…

  • BozzyB

    I like the quick infos of google now and the reply function via voice is very interesting…

  • Rowan09

    Now the conflict of interest begins. I’ve always ask once Google start making phones, etc, will they favor their products over other manufacturers. Samsung released the new Gear with Tizen so they seem to be aware.

  • Yujin

    Ok google…spam my watch now…ads in your watch….

    Who will talk to their watch in a public place? Just saying…never ever seen anyone using Siri or google now in the NYC subway.

    • https://twitter.com/MrElectrifyer MrElectrifyer

      It’s getting there, it’ll look cool like in Star Trek…

  • JS3

    and here come the apple fangirls talking shit about this product and android in general… lol thats as funny as it gets…. gotta love the isheep in this world.

    • http://www.bearsstillsuck.com/ Simon

      I wouldn’t say we are all iSheep but I do think some of us Apple fans need to be open to change. The more electronic companies that attempt something new, no matter who is better, is a good thing. Competition keeps pushing the envelope towards newer and greater inventions.

    • Rowan09

      Ummm. You know that it is possible to like Microsoft, Apple, Google, etc at the same time? Most if not all of us use Google search engine over any other, so you’re the sheep here buddy.

      • Carlos Gomes

        What’s people’s obsession on calling each other sheep? Simon said precisely the same as you, that people need to be OPEN to new philosophies/styles/brands, regardless the company name, so we can embrace products who serve us the best experience.

        But ofc, you were so eager to preach your non-sheepism that you couldn’t even assimilate a three sentences comment.

      • Rowan09

        I hate the word, but it’s obvious people associate the word “sheep” with Apple customers. I own all products from whatever company that fulfills my needs. My Apple TV 3 is not being used because I have an Android Micro PC HDMI stick, I own an iPhone 5s and Note 2. Personally, it’s a persons preference but no need for you to pump your chest as the English teacher. Are you this persons boyfriend or something coming in his/her defense? I only said JS3 was a sheep because it’s obvious he detests the name.

      • Jeffrey

        well no that aint obvious, its just your way to embarras apple fanboys, so stop

      • Rowan09

        No your getting it wrong, I like Apple products. I was just calling JS3 a sheep because he was calling everyone that supports this blog a sheep.

      • Jeffrey

        oh, then yes, i am getting this wrong

    • Carlos Gomes

      You know what’s funny? You whining about people being sheep when you are the one, blindly, taking sides precisely by calling people sheep.

    • Jeffrey

      well if you read closely, most comments here are very positive, while most commenters are huge apple fanboys, so you were wrong. also, as a huge apple fanboy, i have to say that this, and especcially the moto 360, looks mindblowing and gorgeous ,and if apple wouldn’t release an iwatch, i would definately buy the moto 360. so: ERROR: ARGUMENT INVALID

  • Saulo Benigno

    It’s all fake on that video demo right? That does not appear as real…

    • jocastro

      yeah same with me and they dont really tell you about battery life with these so called “wearable”

      • Jeffrey

        i guess its just a teaser, it’s not like they had a huge press conference or something, but i bet something like that will come soon enough, so dont worry

  • jocastro

    battery?

    • Jeffrey

      price?

      • jocastro

        when? lol

      • Jeffrey

        yeah lol, i think in april…

  • Chetan

    Looks way better than that samsung galaxy watch. Waiting for some truly fabulous wearable from apple.

  • Carlos Gomes

    If a pixel display is some sort of grid where each pixel state is determined by its X and Y coordinate, how can that watch up there have a rounded display?

    (Obviously it’s possible, I’m just curious about how do the images get rendered)

    • Hyr3m

      Imagine a square.
      Imagine a circle in that square.
      Imagine you’re only using the square-coordinates that are within the circle.
      Voilà !

      (not sure that’s how they do it but you know…)

  • °§¥¤©|Raygun|©¤¥§°

    This seems nice, but I’ll wait for Razer Nabu.

  • aloneinacrowd

    Still need a method for text input other than voice recognition or mini keyboard

  • Laszlo Gaspar

    iOS would look better on a watch compared with android