Google Launches ‘Android Wear’ Project for Wearable Devices

As promised, Google today announced its “Android Wear” project, which is designed to bring Android to wearable devices. To begin with, Android Wear will be focused on watches that will come in a range of styles from several different manufacturers.

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 wearables—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.

Android Wear for watches is designed to offer several functions over basic time telling. The app will provide notifications, messages, and updates from social networking apps and it will include Google Now capabilities allowing users to say “Ok Google” to ask questions, send texts, set alarms, and more. The “Ok, Google” function can also be used to control other devices, pulling up a music playlist on a phone or casting a movie to the TV.

Android Wear is also designed to be health-oriented, providing reminders for exercise goals and fitness summaries. Fitness apps designed to be compatible with Android Wear will be able to give real-time speed, distance, and time information.

Google’s Android developer site has gained a new section focused on wearables. Developers can obtain a Developer Preview of the software, designed to allow them to tailor existing app notifications for watches that will be powered by Android Wear.


Google has plans to release additional developer resources and APIs in the near future and has announced partnerships with several different electronics manufacturers including Asus, HTC, LG, Motorola, and Samsung, which could see a range of wearable Android-based devices appearing later this year. LG, for example, will launch a watch next quarter with Android.

The company is also partnering with chip makers Broadcom, Imagination, Intel, Mediatek, and Qualcomm, plus fashion brands including the Fossil Group to introduce watches powered by Android Wear in 2014.

    



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