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[Video] Google announces Android Wear


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Mid-March is here, and so are Android wearables. Google has just announced via their Android blog an SDK, new operating system, or maybe an API. They don’t officially say exactly what it is just yet outside of calling it a “project”, but Android Wear is being aimed squarely at Developers who want to laterally integrate into the wearable sector. Starting with smartwatches, and coming to us by the end of the year, Google wants to occupy your wrist as well as your smartphone.

Open source and ready for a preview, Android Wear brings to life some of the rumors we’ve heard lately. The “Ok Google” hotword is present, breathing life into the Google Now aspect to wearables we’ve heard tossed around. By just saying “Ok Google”, it sounds as though we’ll have all the same functionality via a smartwatch as we have with Google Now on our smartphones.

Android Wear also aims to monitor your health and fitness, though Google isn’t quite saying how just yet. We’d like to think whatever it is will tie into the tracker available in Google Now that logs your distance walked and bked for a month, and enhances it. This is where it starts to sound more like an API, though, as Google says “Your favorite fitness apps can give you real-time speed, distance and time information on your wrist for your run, cycle or walk.”

As a good smartwatch should, one running (using?) Android Wear will be able to control your smartphone media. Via the blog post, Google says “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.” That was followed up by commentary that Google has no exact aim here, and they’re going to let Developers guide the program.


It’s still very early days, but there are already some interesting use cases. From the opaque blog post, it looks as though we’ll get the ability to cast from a smartwatch, which is interesting. Fitness tracking is of course showing up, and asking your watch about the caloric content of an avocado should make you feel like a secret agent while shopping. Don't lie -- you want to feel like a secret agent while shopping.

Though Google does note more APIs for Android Wear are coming soon, the overarching project is not quite clear — and may not be for Google, either. Whatever they plan on doing, Google is covering their bases. Noting they’re “already working with several consumer electronics manufacturers, including Asus, HTC, LG, Motorola and Samsung; chip makers Broadcom, Imagination, Intel, Mediatek and Qualcomm; and fashion brands like the Fossil Group to bring you watches powered by Android Wear later this year” is promising. It also shows that Google put a little muscle behind their hustle, and wants to accelerate the program.

Are you excited about this program? We’re curious what our readers think of this. What apps would you like to see take advantage of Android Wear? Let us know in the comments section below. We are obviously excited about it, but is Android ready for your wrist?


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