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Google reveals Android Wear project, an Android platform for smartwatches goes official

ByinSmartwatches | March 19, 2014

Smartwatch with Android WearSmartwatches are still not as popular as smartphones but more and more companies are jumping on the bandwagon or expressing plans to do so in the near future. Those few smartwatches that are available now run on the same operating system as smartphones. Google, however, came to a conclusion that it would be more beneficial if wearable smart devices were shipped with a dedicated platform. That’s how Android Wear idea came into project. Android Wear is now official and ready for developers to put their creativity into action.

Android Wear Project for Smartwatches.

Android Wear Developer PreviewGoogle calls Android Wear an extension and indeed this word best describes the platform, since it’s neither an update of Android nor a new operating system. It’s simply a version of Android made with wearable devices in mind, particularly smartwatches. With Android Wear Google opted to keep things simple and functional. The platform borrows a lot from Google Now and focuses mostly on contextual data such as location-based weather, traffic data, reminders, travel info, etc. The system primarily relies on gestures but also extensively uses voice commands.

Smartwatches running the platform won’t be able to function independently but rather should be seen as companion devices to smartphones. For instance, while replying to a message through voice commands, the text is actually send by your smartphone not the smartwatch. Similarly, when using navigation, turn-by-turn instructions are displayed on the smartwatch but the device doing al the work is your smartphone.

Voice Commands & Battery Life.

Android Wear handoutsVoice commands are available for many options including alarms, reminders, messaging, navigation, media controls, placing calls, making reservations, and even song recognition. Google claims that Android Wear is “always listening” suggesting that it’s ready to interact at any time. While it certainly sounds interesting, it may also be a reason for concern. Keeping the smartwatch in “ready” mode all the time could significantly reduce battery life which is always an issue with mobile products.

Google didn’t elaborate on that, but we can see two possible solutions. In order to preserve battery it might be possible to disable the feature when you don’t need the watch to listen, or the feature may be disabled by default and activated only in certain circumstances for example by moving your wrist in a specific manner. Either way, we would love to hear more about it.

Smartwatches with Android Wear – Interface.

Android WearAndroid Wear interface looks neat and user-friendly. Three main elements of the homescreen are a clock, a Google button, and your notifications. To use voice commands you simply tap the Google button. Swiping down will show both a clock and a battery level indicator. Notifications are brought by swiping up. Swiping from the left will dismiss the notification, while swiping from the right will let you enter action items if they are available for particular notification.

In cases when information is too extensive to fit into a single card, apps will have an unlimited number of additional pages. When a particular app sends many notifications, you will be able to group them into stacks in order to keep the timeline clean.

The first devices to come with Android Wear platform will be Moto 360 by Motorola and LG G Watch.

more info: Android Developer

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