Why Android Wear Is Important to Device Makers, Developers

 
 
By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2014-07-01 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Google's Android Wear featured prominently at the company's recent Google I/O developers' conference. The Android Wear operating system platform is running on two smartwatches that are available now to order and will ship by mid-July. The platform will be coming to a wide range of wearables in the coming months. For those who haven't been following the wearables market, Android Wear presents a major opportunity for hardware makers. According to research firm NPD, wearable device shipments will hit 48 million units this year and explode to 91 million in 2015. The operating system is essentially a stripped-down version of Android that has been redesigned to take full advantage of the small displays found in a smartwatch or other wearable computing device. Although Android Wear might have been scaled down for wearables, it hasn't lost very many features. Google has done a fine job of keeping a nice selection of features in the operating system to make its wearables all the more appealing. This slide show looks at Android Wear and discusses why it's generating interest among device makers and app developers who are counting on these products catching on with buyers.

 
 
 
  • Why Android Wear Is Important to Device Makers, Developers

    by Don Reisinger
    1 - Why Android Wear Is Important to Device Makers, Developers
  • Android Wear Can Go Circular on You

    Android Wear modified to work on a circular screen gives companies far more flexibility in their product designs. Every other product on the market has a square design, simply because it's easy to port an operating system designed for squared-off screens to a smartwatch. Android Wear topples that idea by allowing for circular screens.
    2 - Android Wear Can Go Circular on You
  • There's a Context-Aware Element

    Android Wear knows where a user is and provides relevant information before the user even asks for it. If a user, for example, is heading outside, Android Wear will provide relevant weather information. When coming upon the starting time for an event, the user will be given a brief update as a reminder.
    3 - There's a Context-Aware Element
  • Google Now Is Built Right In

    Google Now is a crucial component in the operating system. In fact, it's the key feature that makes the context-aware element work. With Google Now, users can get everything from directions from their current location to information about what's around them. Google Now doesn't get much play in the public space, but it is a central component in Android Wear.
    4 - Google Now Is Built Right In
  • Voice Activation Plays a Key Role

    It only makes sense that voice activation plays a key role in Android Wear. Users can ask the smartwatch everything from directions to information around them, and it'll be delivered. They can also talk to the device to communicate with their attached smartphones. Voice activation is an important piece in the overall appeal of Android Wear.
    5 - Voice Activation Plays a Key Role
  • Google Is Inching Its Way Toward Health

    For now, Google doesn't have much to offer in the area of health. In fact, the devices running its software can at best provide a heart rate monitor and track movement, but little else. Over time, however, Google hopes that more hardware makers and software designers create ways to track more health information.
    6 - Google Is Inching Its Way Toward Health
  • Bring an Android Phone With You

    Google's Android Wear requires an Android phone to work to its full potential. Furthermore, the platform requires that users run Android 4.3 or higher on their devices, which leaves out a significant portion of the Android marketplace. Still, going forward, Android Wear should be a suitable option for just about anyone who buys an Android smartphone, since those devices are running software versions that will support Android Wear.
    7 - Bring an Android Phone With You
  • There Are Three Hardware Partners So Far

    While Google so far has only signed up three hardware partners—LG, Samsung and Motorola—it promises more in the future. At least its current hardware partners are some of the biggies.
    8 - There Are Three Hardware Partners So Far
  • You Can Get Two Smartwatches Soon

    Are you looking to get your hands on an Android Wear device sooner rather than later? You're in luck. Two of the known devices—the LG G Watch and the Samsung Gear Live—will be available in early July. The G Watch will retail for $229, while the Gear Live will set you back $199. Both devices are available to order right now.
    9 - You Can Get Two Smartwatches Soon
  • Android Wear Has Full Notification Support

    Since Android Wear is connected to a smartphone, it can provide full notification support to users. So, whenever a call comes through or a text message is received, the user can look at his or her Android Wear device rather than pull a smartphone out of a pocket or purse to see who is calling. It's that glanceable feature that could make Android Wear a compelling option for many customers.
    10 - Android Wear Has Full Notification Support
  • Third-Party App Support Is Coming Along

    Third-party apps should be coming along sooner rather than later. Google opened its Android Wear software development kit to developers and is expecting many of them to bring their programs to the operating system in the coming months. Look for many apps to be focused on location, health and notification support.
    11 - Third-Party App Support Is Coming Along
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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