Google announces Android Wear and developer programs

Google today announced Android Wear, a project to bring Android OS to the rapidly growing wearable market.

Google is already working with OEMs including Asus, HTC, LG, Motorola and Samsung; chip makers Broadcom, Imagination, Intel, Mediatek and Qualcomm; and fashion brands like the Fossil Group to bring watches powered by Android Wear later this year.

In a blog post by Sundar Pichai, SVP, Android, Chrome & Apps, Google said developers can download a Developer Preview to tailor your existing app notifications for watches powered by Android Wear. Because Android for wearables works with Android’s rich notification system, many apps will already work well. There will be more developer resources and APIs.

ABI Research in March 2014 said that the vast majority of prospective smartwatch purchasers looked for text alerts, call alerts and caller ID as the most attractive features of a product. One anomaly to this was related to the group that typically purchases watches in the $1,000 to $5,000 range. Consumers in this group identified voice command and control and also fashionable look and feel as the key factors that would influence a purchase decision. Typically voice control falls to the lower end of the scale of all other consumer groups.

Goole Wear announced

The Google blog shared some of the possible use cases.

Android Wear shows you info and suggestions you need, right when you need them. The wide variety of Android applications means you’ll receive the latest posts and updates from your favorite social apps, chats from your preferred messaging apps, notifications from shopping, news and photography apps, and more.

Just say “Ok Google” to ask questions, like how many calories are in an avocado, what time your flight leaves, and the score of the game. Or say “Ok Google” to get stuff done, like calling a taxi, sending a text, making a restaurant reservation or setting an alarm.

Hit your exercise goals with reminders and fitness summaries from Android Wear. Your favorite fitness apps can give you real-time speed, distance and time information on your wrist for your run, cycle or walk.

Android Wear lets you access and control other devices from your wrist. Just say “Ok Google” to fire up a music playlist on your phone, or cast your favorite movie to your TV. There’s a lot of possibilities here so we’re eager to see what developers build.

“The market for wearable computing devices is driven by a growing range of wireless connected wearable sports, fitness and wellbeing devices,” says Jonathan Collins, principal analyst at ABI Research. “Heart rate and activity monitors will outpace shipments of smart watches and glasses for some years to come and they will also provide the essential foundation for the development of the broader wearable market.”

Anand B
[email protected]