Google announces Android Wear for smartwatches at I/O conference
Google has announced details of its much talked about Android Wear platform, an operating system which is specifically designed for wearables, at its I/O 2014 Keynote on Wednesday. The company offered an in-depth look at the OS, and released its Android Wear SDK to developers, allowing them to integrate the platform with their own devices and apps. Developers can design their own apps which can run fully on the wearable itself. By installing the Android app on their smartphone, the wearable will automatically receive its complementary portion and be updated as your smartphone updates, dismissing the need to install the app twice.
One of the aims of Android Wear smartwatches is to allow users to be able to “quickly show you relevant information, and make sure you never miss an important message, while letting you stay engaged with the people that you are actually with,” according to David Singleton, director of engineering, Google’s Android division. Notifications can be sent to the user by vibration and any dismissal or follow-up actions are immediately synced across to their smartphones. The new SDK also opens up custom user interface, sensor control, data transfer and voice actions capabilities.
Some third-party apps were also unveiled at the conference, including ones by PayPal, Soundwave, Pinterest, Eat24, Lyft and Allthecooks, reports The Verge. Google gave an example of how users can order a pizza in 30 seconds with the Eat24 app, by simply tapping through and repeating a previous order. The Lyft app was also showed which can tap into Google Now and allow users to call a taxi through voice command.
LG and Samsung smartwatches were also showcased at the conference, and Google is gifting each of the 6,000 attendees a free smartwatch of their choice. The watches are available for pre-order now and you can find out more information of them from here. Unfortunately, the highly anticipated Moto 360 did not make an appearance, but is said to be available in the coming months.
Now that the SDK is out, we look forward to seeing many more new features and apps from third-party developers appearing on Android Wear watches.