Wearable technology is becoming more commonplace today. Products like Nike+ FuelBand, Samsung’s Galaxy Gear and Google Glass are examples of technology integrating further into our everyday lives.
Google recently announced Android Wear, a version of their Android OS designed for the humble watch. While Samsung beat Google to the punch with their Galaxy Gear product, it only works with Samsung’s Galaxy smartphones and tablets, and is limited to running software written by Samsung.
The difference with Android Wear is that Google have partnered with multiple manufacturers (including, but not limited to companies like Motorola, LG and HTC), various chip makers and fashion brands. In addition to this, Android Wear opens up the market to all Android developers, so they can write new software, or tailor existing software to work with the new watches.
One would expect that a smartwatch can tell us the time, but other functionality we could expect to see out of an Android Wear-powered watch include:
– Viewing a calendar
– Events and notifications/alarms (including from social media platforms)
– Monitoring health and fitness activities; and
– Synchronising tasks with your Android-based smartphone
Interaction with the watch will include the typical gestures found with your current smartphone, like tapping and swiping, and voice commands via Google Now.
You can watch the following video to get more of an idea of how your Android Wear could be used:
For Developer Eyes Only – Playing with the Developer Preview
A preview of the SDK has been released by Google, so that developers can start looking at the API, and see how to take advantage of this new library.
Instructions on how to get started working with the Developer Preview can be found here: http://developer.android.com/wear/preview/start.html
The preview reveals some basic capabilities of what can be achieved with Android Wear.
The software runs in a development environment on PC/Mac, and requires an Android phone to be connected via USB. Once the development environment is set up, any notifications triggered on the phone will be displayed in the Wear environment running on the PC/Mac.
You can then swipe left to view certain actions that can be performed on the notification. The actions that are available for each notification are controlled by the application providing the notification.
Note that voice activation is not enabled in the Developer Preview.
For more information, check out the following video:
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Image source: Android Wear – Developers