Android Wear is an unknown quantity at the moment. Aside from the teaser videos and Developer Preview released back in March, it’s been difficult to imagine what the full smartwatch experience will look like.
As a means of introduction, Google has released a video called ‘An Introduction to Android Wear‘ on YouTube. One of the most interesting parts explained the platform’s new notification system; Timothy Jordan, a developer advocate for Google, said there were three main types that developers could choose from:
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Stacks, Pages and Replies.
Stacks group together multiple notifications into a single unit. So if a flurry of emails have come through – which the user would normally be alerted to individually – Android Wear can bundle them up.
In a screenshot, Google showed how this would work on Gmail. Underneath the first email snippet was a grey, rectangular area with “+5 more.” A second screenshot next to it showed a slightly expanded card with multiple email snippets stacked one on top of the other – presumably, you can swipe vertically for a quick overview and identify which ones need to be actioned immediately.
Pages, meanwhile, offer multiple cards for a single notification. So when a single alert needs to show a little more information – say a meeting alert, followed by the agenda and list of participants – Android Wear can offer a ‘deeper’ glance with consecutive cards. Based on the screenshots, it would appear the user swipes horizontally to browse them.
Pages can also be combined with Stacks, Jordan noted.
To make notifications actionable, developers can tap into Replies. This will allow the user to respond with voice-enabled commands and messages – no on-screen keyboard required. Jordan said this would work via “open-ended text-input or through pre-defined text responses.”
The entire video is worth watching, but for the section on Android Wear notifications, jump to around 4:20 in the video.