Yesterday, Google announced Android Wear, a modified version of its famed operating system tailored specifically for wearable devices. Having pushed out a Developer Preview of the Android Wear SDK, folks have already been checking out the beta Android Wear software therein, and one in particular – Android enthusiast Dom Esposito – has given us a video walkthrough of the smartwatch-ready OS. Check it out right after the leap!
Now, since Android Wear is still very much in beta, it’s only partially functional through the emulator, but at the very least, this video showcases the potential of this piece of software.
In essence, Android Wear will allow a device to function in much a similar manner to which smartwatches released by the likes of Sony and Samsung have, with a paired smartphone doing most of the leg-work. It will enable, for example, notifications of messages to be shown on a smartwatch, with an option for previewing the body of the message on the watch interface, but although, in this preview, there’s no immediately obvious option for replying via voice dictation, we’d expect this to arrive in due course.
Speaking of voice capabilities, Google Now will certainly be the lifeblood of the Android Wear OS, and although, at this point, it’s not ready to be demonstrated, will be the main outlet of information and interaction for smartwatch users running on Android Wear. As we learned yesterday, the device will react to the familiar “OK Google” command, so if you’ve used Google Now in any capacity before, you’ll be more than familiar with how the voice functionality will operate.
As well as being able to receive and reply to messages, many of your day-to-day apps, such as Twitter, will be integrated into the OS, allowing you to readily view and send tweets, direct messages, retweet and perform other actions by simply swiping through the interface.
As with other smartwatch platforms already running, Android Wear will support custom watch faces, and even at this very early stage, things look very promising indeed.
It took the smartphone and tablet flavor of Android a good few years to get from a rough-and-ready open-source platform to the refined experience it offers today, but thanks to the lessons learned in its development, Android Wear should very soon boast similarly slick operability.
The first line of devices, which includes the Moto 360 from Motorola and LG’s G Watch, should be available in the coming months, and with several other big names, including HTC and ASUS, also lining up their own releases, the battle to dethrone the Pebble has well and truly begun.
Check out the video of Android Wear in action below, and be sure to leave your thoughts in the comments section.
Thanks, Dom for sending this in!