As promised, Google has officially announced its wearables strategy. It’s called “Android Wear,” and it’s all about bringing Android to wearable tech, starting with smartwatches. Much like Google Now on a smartwatch, Android Wear is designed to focus on timely information, delivered when it’s most relevant — Google’s announcement media mentions social updates, chat updates and notifications from shopping and news apps, for instance.
Naturally the “OK Google” keyword can also activate voice input, just as it does in the Google Now Launcher, allowing you to get answers to spoken questions, or perform other commends like sending text messages or setting alarms. That means voice commands from Android Wear devices can also link back to your phone and, for example start music or movie playback.
And as with rival watches from the likes of Samsung, Android Wear also has a big fitness focus, allowing you to track calories burned, as well as distance traveled, whether you’re walking, running or cycling.
For developers, there’s a new section on the Android Developers site focusing on getting apps’ notifications ready for Android Wear smartwatches, however Google says because the platform hooks into Android’s existing notifications system, many apps will work as-is.
And while Google itself hasn’t announced a “hero” smartwatch device, it says it’s working with OEMs including Asus, HTC, LG, Motorola and Samsung to create devices, chipmakers Broadcom, Imagination, Intel, Mediatek and Qualcomm — and fashion brands such as Fossil Group to launch Android Wear smartwatches “later this year.”
Hot on the heels of the Android Wear announcement, we’ve also got news of the first Android-powered smartwatches from LG and Motorola.