Google’s Android Smartwatch Project: Coming to Your Wrist This Year
On Tuesday Google officially announced Android Wear, its new operating system built specifically for wearable devices. With this announcement Google also rolled out a list of partners, along with a peek at what some of these devices will look like and how its new Android system would work, along with a promise of much more to come.
The operating system is designed mainly around voice and simple touch interactions, Google’s device activation phrase, “Ok Google”, is put in use throughout the watch. By saying the phrase the user can reply to messages, check the weather, see sports scores, or get directions, all done through voice commands.
The system also revolves around individual screens or “cards” which a user can navigate between with a swipe. These cards give them the most important information upfront with the ability to see more expansive information with another swipe. Google said simplicity was one of the major goals for Android Wear, especially with the limited space these devices like the watch have to offer. Though in the small confines of a watch, Google’s trying to pack in some real functionality: maps, weather, a search engine, a calendar, as well as being able to track your scheduled flights and pull up your boarding pass right on the watch, and more.
The operating systems seems sleek, and rather easy to use, and it’s tailor-made for such devices which will surely ensure a smoother experience. Google has released a preview development kit for app developers, so that anyone’s favorite apps can soon be smartwatch ready, further expanding the devices’ potential functions.
A Smartwatch You’d Want To Wear?
Besides debuting it’s operating system google has released some preview images of two devices we can expect to see this year. One is a Motorola made watch called the Moto 360, which features a circular watch face design similar to classic styles which will seemingly be available with both a leather or a metal band. The other is the LG G Watch, a square watch for which LG says more info will be available in the coming months.
Google has also announced some other promising partners with some certainly intriguing possibilities. There are of course the the tech companies: Intel, Qualcomm, HTC, and Samsung, along with LG and Motorola. However, one stands out as different, Google has announced that Fossil Group Inc. will also be joining their team of smartwatch partners.
Fossil Group Inc. is a watch and accessories company which runs an eponymous label, but they also own the licensing rights for watches and accessories of numerous major fashion brands. These brands include: Michael Kors, Burberry, Marc by Marc Jacobs, Karl Lagerfeld, Tory Burch, and DKNY among others. So theres a strong chance we might be seeing a smartwatch from some of these brands in the future, which could be a big win for Google. These brands are already all about making things people want to wear, and they do it well, so the combination of a fashionable design with Google functionality could be quite the success, and could certainly help avoid the faults of past bulky or clumsy wearable devices.
So When Will the Smartwatch Frenzy Start?
Motorola’s smartwatch, the Moto 360, is set to launch sometime this summer, and LG’s device sometime in the same period, with many more to follow, Google states. So in a few months the way we use our wrists could completely change. Yet the wearables trend has yet to find real mass approval, despite the endless hype that it’s the “next big thing”. Yet with Google’s launch of a sophisticated product line that all could change, and this announcement might just lead to a similar one from Google’s major competitor, Apple, sometime in the future if all goes well. Wearable devices are without a doubt gaining steam in the tech world, now it just leaves to see how the public reacts to them and if and how they are integrated into our lives.