Google has announced a new take on its Android mobile operating system to speed up the development of wearable devices, saying that it will start “with the most familiar wearable – watches”.
The newly created Android Wear operating system will be designed to take advantage of the Google’s growing store of contextual information about its users, with the internet giant promising that it will deliver functional wearables that work on four key fronts.
Firstly, smartwatches using Android Wear will be able to give “straight answers to spoken questions”, with users activating Google searches using the command “OK Google”; secondly, Google Now will offer reminders about personal information – tapping into your calendar to give reminders about upcoming meetings and the like.
Thirdly, Android Wear smartwatches will connect to other devices such as your phone and your TV, acting as a remote or as easily-accessible display for notifications; and fourthly, Google says that Android Wear will also sync with fitness apps, offering health information at a glance.
The vision Google has outlined for Android Wear doesn’t develop the concept of the smartwatch greatly, with the prototypes shown in the company's promotional videos still showing off a ‘second screen’ experience; that is, a device that connects to your smartphone for its computing power and that acts as a buffer for notifications from your phone.
However, it seems the company is intent on getting the wearable market over its current hump, moving past the hit-and-miss devices currently available towards some sort of device that is attractive outside of the specialist market.
Google says that they are already working with specific hardware partners to produce the first Android Wear devices, with Asus, Qualcomm, HTC, LG and Motorola reportedly on board.
Tech site Engadget is also reporting that LG will be the first to get a smartwatch running Android Wear to market with the ‘G Watch’ next quarter, and that Google is also in talks with actual-watch-maker Fossil to make sure the next generation smartwatches are less geeky in appearance. It seems Google is determined to make wearable tech work – and it wants to dominate the market just as Android dominates smartphones.Reuse content