Wearable computing is something Google seems to not only understand, but also do well, if Google Glass is any indication. And today, Google expanded wearable computing by announcing Android Wear, a project that seeks to combine Android’s operating system with wearable computing. The company plans starting the project with watches, but we can assume they’ll eventually expand to computers that integrate with the rest of our clothing.
Android Wear works similarly to Glass, using the Google Now functionality to actively listen for voice commands and respond to them. In a video preview of an Android Wear smartwatch, Google shows off a variety of demos that allow users to do things like tell their watches to open their garage doors, send voice text messages and emails, and check sports scores. But there’s much more to it. The watch can also work with other apps to send reminders, provide directions, and even hail taxis. In the video, a surfer gets a jellyfish warning via her watch just before dipping her toes in dangerous waters, and a traveler gets her boarding pass delivered to her watch after arriving at the airport.
Today, Google is releasing a developer version of Android Wear for application developers to start integrating the system into their programs. With Google Now tech, the company is hoping for more apps that can send notifications without being asked and handle simple requests.
However, that’s not to say that Android Wear is not for hardware developers, too. Today, Motorola announced its first smartwatch, the Moto 360. Not only is the 360 probably one of the best looking smartwatches we’ve seen to date, but it also has a feature that allows you to twist your wrist, similar to the camera on the Moto X, to find out what’s going on, see who’s texting or calling you, when your next meeting is, or view the latest status updates on Facebook. The watch’s Google Now features work a lot like those on the previously-mentioned Moto X: you can check on flights, schedule appointments, send texts, set reminders, and take notes.
You won’t have to wait long for Motorola to come through with this either: the Moto 360 will be available this summer in a variety of styles and colors.