Google’s Android Wear was announced in March as a version of Android for wearable technology such as smartwatches. Then, during Google I/O on 25 June, Google gave us a further insight into Android Wear, and announced that smartwatches running the new software will be available to preorder from today. Here, we explain what is Android Wear and bring you a list of companies making Android Wear watches.
What is Android Wear ?
Android Wear is a new version of Google’s mobile OS that extends Android to wearables, starting with smartwatches. If you keep up to date with technology you’ll know that some smartwatches on the market already run on Android, namely the Sony Smartwatch 2 and Samsung Galaxy Gear. However, those use adapted versions of the operating system, while Android Wear is Google’s mobile operating system specially redesigned for wearables.
“Most of us are rarely without our smartphones in hand. These powerful supercomputers keep us connected to the world and the people we love. But we’re only at the beginning; we’ve barely scratched the surface of what’s possible with mobile technology. That’s why we’re so excited about wearable — they understand the context of the world around you, and you can interact with them simply and efficiently, with just a glance or a spoken word,” said Google in a blog post.
What can Android Wear smartwatches do ?
Google says that smartwatches with Android Wear (which can be either square or round, as Android Wear supports both shapes) is all about providing information when you need it (the average user apparently looks at their smartphone a whopping 125 times a day), and allowing you to use voice control to get things done hands-free.
It’ll also give straight answers to spoken questions, using the now familiar “OK GOOGLE” trigger. You can ask how many calories are in an avocado, what time your flight leaves, the score of the latest World Cup match. You can also say “Ok Google” to get things done, such as call a taxi, send a text, write a note, make a reservation at a restaurant or set an alarm.
It will be able to give users useful information when they need it most. This includes emails and text messages, but also the latest posts and updates from your favourite social apps, chats from your preferred messaging apps, notifications and more. When you don’t need it, you’ll be able to swipe down on the display to activate a do-not-disturb mode.
You’ll be able to monitor your health and fitness using an Android Wear smartwatch, too, as some models will include heart-rate monitors and pedometers. You’ll be encouraged to hit your exercise goals through reminders and fitness summaries, and you’ll be able to use your favourite fitness apps to get real-time speed, distance and time information on your wrist, whether you’re running, cycling or walking.
When you install an app on your Android phone from the Google Play Store, it’ll be automatically stored on your Android Wear smartwatch.
Google has also said that you’ll be able to access and control other devices using an Android Wear device. “Just say “OK GOOGLE” to fire up a music playlist on your phone, or cast your favourite movie to your TV,” says Google. “There are a lot of possibilities here so we’re eager to see what developers build.”
You’ll be able to use an Android Wear smartwatch to control the music you’re listening to on your Android phone as well. “The watch will act as your key in a multiscreen world,” says Google. Google also used its I/O keynote to announce Android TV, which you’ll be able to control using an Android Wear remote.
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