Android Wear
As teased by Sundar Pichai at SXSW, Google has today announced their plans for wearables by announcing Android Wear. Android Wear is a about bringing Android to wearables and getting information to you. As expected it’s heavily focused on Google Now and it will be used by a pretty vast array of partners from the Open Handset Alliance(OHA). To start with Google and their partners will be concentrating Android Wear on the most common wearable in the consumer market at this stage – Watches.

There’s four major focuses with Android Wear – Information, answers, health and fitness and syncing in a multi-screen world. :

Useful information when you need it most. Android Wear shows you info and suggestions you need, right when you need them. The wide variety of Android applications means you’ll receive the latest posts and updates from your favorite social apps, chats from your preferred messaging apps, notifications from shopping, news and photography apps, and more.
Straight answers to spoken questions. Just say “Ok Google” to ask questions, like how many calories are in an avocado, what time your flight leaves, and the score of the game. Or say “Ok Google” to get stuff done, like calling a taxi, sending a text, making a restaurant reservation or setting an alarm.
The ability to better monitor your health and fitness. Hit your exercise goals with reminders and fitness summaries from Android Wear. Your favorite fitness apps can give you real-time speed, distance and time information on your wrist for your run, cycle or walk.
Your key to a multiscreen world. 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. There’s a lot of possibilities here so we’re eager to see what developers build.

Google has put together a video on Android Wear which shows what their plans and from the looks of things it looks great.

Android Wear: Information that moves with you

So, of course there’s going to be smartwatches. Google has a lot of partners in the OHA and five of the biggest have been listed as initial partners for Android wear. The partners at this stage include Asus, HTC, LG, Motorola and Samsung and Google has also brought chip makers on board including Broadcom, Imagination, Intel, Mediatek and Qualcomm. Google also advised that fashion brand Fossil Group will join this group of hardware vendors who will all bring out smartwatches ‘later this year’

There’s no actual SDK..yet. But there is a Developer preview for developers to begin updating their Apps to tailor notifications to work with Android Wear now, best of all if your App supports rich notifications, it should be fairly easy to integrate. Google will release more APIs and developer resources soon but the Android Wear developers page is open now. But Google has produced a video for the Android Wear for Developers Preview introducing it :

Introducing Android Wear Developer Preview

But it looks Awesome :

Say “Ok Google” to ask questions and get stuff done.

Say “Ok Google” to ask questions and get stuff done.

Get glanceable, actionable information at just the right time throughout the day.

Get glanceable, actionable information at just the right time throughout the day.

A wide range of sensors is available to your applications, from accelerometers to heart rate monitors.

A wide range of sensors is available to your applications, from accelerometers to heart rate monitors.

Receive Voice Replies Add actions to your notifications to allow users to reply by voice or touch. The system delivers the text to your app on the phone.

Receive Voice Replies
Add actions to your notifications to allow users to reply by voice or touch. The system delivers the text to your app on the phone.

Add additional pages to your notification that are visible on the wearable device to provide detailed information on the wrist.

Add Notification Pages Add additional pages to your notification that are visible on the wearable device to provide detailed information on the wrist.

Stack Multiple Notifications Your app should consolidate similar notifications. On a wearable, you can stack them together so the details for each are immediately available.

Stack Multiple Notifications
Your app should consolidate similar notifications. On a wearable, you can stack them together so the details for each are immediately available.

Google has also included Android Wear Developer Preview Design Principles to point developers in the right direction. From here there’s information for developers on how the UI should look with suggestions such as :

Omit needless text from your notifications. Design for glanceability, not reading. Use words and phrases, not sentences. Show, don’t tell: where possible use simple icons, glyphs, and visualizations to convey your message.

There’s a lot going on here, both square and circular watch faces are an interesting choice. This is the next big move for Android and it’s a pretty exciting time, so bring on the wearables. And of course, while hardware manufacturers will be jumping on board, hardcore Android fans will definitely be asking more about the so-called ‘Nexus Watch’.

Source(s): Android Developer Design Principles, Android Wear Developer Preview, and Official Google Blog
  • unbelievable

    And I couldn’t get my mobile out to do this before?? yawn
    Only good thing is the QR code for boarding the flight when you have bags and stuff on you.