Google took the wraps off its new version of Android yesterday, called Android Wear, that is specifically designed to power wearable technology like smartwatches. The focus of Android Wear from the start will be contextual based information served from Google’s Google Now application with prominent mentions given to tasks like checking the weather and your calendar first thing in the morning and travel ties to work, all of which already appear in the Google Now app.
Android Wear relies on voice input and gestures to control its interface which mean you’ll find yourself swiping through cards of info and speaking into your wrist more often. The similarities to Google Now don’t stop at the card based interface either with the “O.K. Google” command, that initiates voice commands, making the jump from the Google Search app on Android to the smartwatch.
There are already a host of familiar names already signed up with the Android Wear program including Asus, HTC, LG, Motorola and Samsung all on board to make devices while chip makers Broadcom, Imagination, Intel, Mediatek and Qualcomm are around to supply the innards. The Fossil Group is also on board which could see wearable tech from some of its brands like Burberry, Emporio Armani, Diesel and DKNY before too long.
LG and Motorola both showed off their prototype Android Wear devices with the familiar square face of the LG G Watch joining the round display of the Moto 360. It’s not surprising that the two companies were the first to show off Android Wear smartwatches, with both having close ties with Google. LG of course has experience working with Google having built the last two Nexus phones for the search engine giant, while Motorola was, until recently, part of the Google family before it was acquired by Lenovo at the end of January. The Moto 360 is scheduled to start shipping sometime in the American summer which would put it somewhere between June and August but as with all other Motorola devices we’re not holding much hope for getting one in South Africa any time soon.
Samsung signing on for the project is interesting considering the fact that it just launched its Gear 2 smartwatches and Gear Fit fitness band using its own in-house operating system called Tizen, it will be interesting to see what the South Koreans make using the new OS.[Source: Google, Image: Motorola]