Google Bets Big(ger) on Wearable Computing, Unveils Android Wear OS

Posted on March 18, 2014 2:53 PM by Rob Williams

It’s been no secret that Google’s believed that wearable computing is something well-worth getting into – after all, its Google Glass was announced before the recent explosion of wearable devices. But Google Glass takes care of just one aspect of wearable computing; it’s a single product. What about a specialized OS that can be used on many others, even those that Google itself has nothing to do with? Well, it’s here, and it’s called Android Wear.

On the surface, it appears that Android Wear isn’t too dissimilar from the Android OS that’s used on millions upon millions of Android smartphones and tablets worldwide. It’s of course finely tuned for its target market, however, with an emphasis on voice commands, and supporting smaller (and much more restrictive) displays. As the shot below highlights, while a smartphone has a lot of room to display a notification, it can still look good when squeezed onto a small display.

Android Wear Example

With something like this, the possibilities are endless. The preview video shows a couple of interesting examples, such as merely looking at your watch in the morning to quickly see the weather, and then flipping over to new pages to see when your first meeting is, get an estimate of how long it will take to get there, and see important messages.

No one will ever claim that wearable computing will replace our currently available devices, such as smartphones, but when designed well, they can become an amazing complement. Instead of having to haul out a phone, you could simply look at your wrist. The level of convenience could reach an all-time high once these devices start pouring out into the market en masse.

Developers wanting to dive head-first into Android Wear can sign up for SDK access here

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