Google today announced Android Wear, a project that extends the company’s mobile operating system to wearables. The company is starting with watches, and has released a Developer Preview so app creators can tailor their existing notifications for watches powered by Android Wear.
Google has partnered with several consumer electronics manufacturers (including Asus, HTC, LG, Motorola, and Samsung), chip makers (Broadcom, Imagination, Intel, Mediatek, and Qualcomm), as well as fashion brands (only the Fossil Group was named). The company says it will use these partners to launch watches powered by Android Wear later this year.
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Developers interested in leveraging Android on these future devices will want to head to developer.android.com/wear. Google claims that Android Wear works with Android’s rich notification system, so “many apps will already work well.”
The preview includes new Android Wear APIs which will let developers customize and extend their notifications to accept voice replies, feature additional pages, and stack with similar notifications. The provided emulator can be used to preview how notifications will appear on both square and round Android wearables. Google is also promising new APIs and features for Android Wear devices “in the coming months.”
Here’s what Google is promising with Android Wear:
- 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.
Google did not share today how Android Wear will impact its experimental Google Glass project. Given that Android Wear is meant for all types of wearables, however, it’s safe to say the company will likely bring it to devices like smartglasses as well.