At Google’s I/O Keynote today, the company showed off its new software system Android Wear. The wearable version of the mobile software system can be used on any compatible hardware device and allows users to connect their smartwatch to their phones and tablets. Based on the demonstration given at the keynote address, Apple has some serious competition to deal with.
Not only will Android Wear be useful for fitness-based activities like the rumored iWatch will be, but thanks to deeply integrated software syncing, any smartwatch running the operating system will be able to download compatible Google Play apps to help them stay connected with technology right on their wrists.
Android Wear was shown off using a variety of useful apps to allow the user to make dinner reservations, check flight status, order pizza, save voice dictated notes, see chat messages, get directions, and more.
The watch’s face will be “always on” so users can see relevant information at a glance. For example, you can display the time and temperature or your flight status so that checking your watch will provide information specific to your needs.
Notification information, like chat messages or reminders, are pushed from an Android-based device like a smartphone or tablet and are displayed on the smartwatch as a set of cards you can access by swiping horizontally.
A number of companies are already on board to develop smartwatches for Android Wear, including LG, Motorola, and Samsung. The LG G Watch and Samsung Gear Live will be available today while the Motorola Moto 360 will be available later this summer.
If rumors about Apple’s iWatch are an accurate representation of what the wearable device will actually do, it is not nearly as interesting to me as Android Wear smartwatches. I am less interested in health and fitness content and more interested in a device that acts as a companion for my iPhone. I’d love to be able to show my wristwatch to the gate agent when boarding a plane instead of having to pull my iPhone out of my bag as I’m trying to drag my luggage around.
Hopefully, rumors of the iWatch are only exploring one portion of what Apple’s wearable computer can do. Even if it seems like too little, too late with Google’s announcement today, many Apple fans will be very excited to see a smartwatch that is more like Android Wear than Nike Fit.