Google just announced Android Wear, a program that brings the power of Android to smartwatches and other wearable devices. Google will be working with consumer electronics makers and other companies to bring a lightweight and fast version of Android to wearables everywhere, and it all starts with smartwatches.
In a post on the official Android blog, Google names HTC, LG, Asus, Motorola and Samsung as some of the first official partners, as well as chip makers like Broadcom, Imagination, Intel, Mediatek and Qualcomm. Even traditional watch makers such as Fossil are joining the alliance, and the first fruit of their labor will become available later this year.
Google is releasing an SDK preview for Android Wear today.
Android Wear devices will be able to receive notifications from any Android app, and according to Google, using the SDK to adapt existing apps to work with Wear is trivial. Many apps should be compatible without any modifications. Google is promising more APIs and resources for developers in the near future.
Saying “OK Google” will let you tap into the power of Google Now, which, as expected, is a major part of the Wear experience. You’ll be able to ask questions like “what’s the capital of France?” and receive instant answers. Moreover, Google promises that voice commands will let you call taxis or make restaurant reservations, which is not something you can currently do with Google Now. More likely, this will be made possible through third-party apps on the smartphone, that users will be able to control from Wear devices. Google is giving as examples opening a playlist in a music app or Chromecasting a movie, but it’s being hinted that the possibilities are wide open.
LG is one of the companies that already announced an Android Wear device – the LG G Watch will become available in the next quarter. More about in a separate post.
Fitness is a big component of the budding wearables industry, and Google knows that. Android Wear will pack fitness features, and give you real time information on stuff like speed, distance, or calories you burnt.
More details coming soon, stay tuned.