Google Reveals Android Wear, an Operating System for Smartwatches [Video]

Google announced Android Wear, a version of its mobile operating system specially designed for smartwatches and other wearable devices.

Google Inc. has entered the world of wearables, as the company announced it new smartwatch platform called Android Wear, Sundar Pichai, a senior vice president at Google, wrote in a blog post. In addition, the company has released two impressive videos that show off what the watch interface will look like.

“We’re always seeking new ways for technology to help people live their lives and this is just another step in that journey,” Pichai wrote. “Here’s to getting the most out of the many screens you use every day — whether in your car, in your pocket or, very soon, on your wrist.”

Android Wear is starting with watches, which are scheduled to hit the market later this year. The devices will let users ask questions by voice and get answers, monitor their health and fitness and connect to TVs and other gadgets. Google also unveiled developer tools for the devices.

The idea behind the project is to provide a user with all contextual information when it’s most needed, keeping interaction to a minimum. It means getting the latest updates from a social app, sending instant messages and photos, and showing the fastest route to get to your next appointment.

So while you’d still take out your phone to read through Facebook or write an email, you could use a smartwatch to check on a to-do list, view directions or scan your boarding pass at the airport.

The California-based company will also integrate Google Now within the voice-enabled watches, what allows automatic, passive reminders to be sent to users via their smartwatch. The watches, following the “OK Google” dictation scheme of gathering information, will also connect with Android smartphones to let the user get all the notifications from whatever apps are installed on his/her phone.

Google wants Android developers to begin making their apps more wearable-friendly, though many app notifications will apparently work well without any changes. That’s a big advantage Google can wield over Samsung’s Tizen-based Galaxy Gear watches, which need to build up developer support from scratch, says the Time.

Google also says that Android Wear will hit on the popular health monitor market, allowing for real-time access to data for both users and apps.

The tech giant previously released an early version of computerized eyewear called Google Glass and unveiled the Open Automotive Alliance, a partnership to bring Android into more vehicles.

The Google’s smartwatches will definitely meet tough competition on the market of wearable devices especially from iPhone maker Apple Inc. that is expected to introduce its iWatch this year. However, Apple hasn’t confirmed any plans for a smartwatch yet.

Google has also revealed its partnership with such device makers as HTC Corp., Samsung Electronics Co. and LG Electronics Inc., along with chipmakers Intel Corp., Qualcomm Inc. and Broadcom Corp.

LG is a key launch partner for Android Wear that has built the G Watch, which is expected to launch next quarter. Motorola is another main launch partner, with a summer launch for its Moto 360, which already begins to show how different OEMs will have different takes on what to do with Android Wear, reports Tech Crunch.

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