Google announces Android Wear software for smartwatches

19 March 2014

Google has at last unveiled Android Wear – its new, specially designed version of the Android operating system exclusively for wearable devices. And cementing the announcement, both LG and Motorola have revealed upcoming smartwatches which will run on the new software.

In a company blog post from Senior Vice President of Android and Chrome, Sundar Pichai, Google confirmed that Android Wear software will appear on smartwatches this year, providing users with 'useful information when they need it most'.

The software has been designed specifically to work around the challenges of a small device to provide a simple, convenient and efficient user experience.

Google released a short promotional video showcasing Android Wear in action (or at least, a simulation of how the software will be used on smartwatches). Featuring a simple but elegant interface, Android Wear will connect to a user’s Android smartphone and receive updates and notifications from social networking sites, news posts, and any other relevant apps.

The software will also feature the Google Now voice search option, which can be activated by saying ‘OK Google’. The feature will respond to questions or commands such as sending a message or setting an alarm, but will also apparently allow users to control their linked Android devices from their smartwatch, in what Google is calling ‘the key to a multi-screen world’.

Unsurprisingly, fitness and health monitors are heavily integrated into the software, so gym junkies will be able to get accurate real-time workout information such as distance travelled, average speeds and times.

Google has also posted information for developers hoping to work with the Android Wear platform on current and future projects. The Android Wear Developer Preview is available to download for interested developers from the Android website.

Android Wear smartwatches coming soon

Excitingly, both Motorola and LG have confirmed they will be releasing smartwatches running Android Wear this year. LG was first to jump on the Android Wear publicity train, announcing plans to release what is calling the G Watch in the second quarter of this year, in collaboration with Google.

However, Motorola’s Moto 360 wearable (pictured above), slated for a mid-year release, seems to be the more promising of the two so far. Although there’s no info available yet on the watch’s specs, the design puts the 360 at the top of the ‘Most Stylish Wearable' list – the round face and more analog-looking style (as shown in the above video) makes it a much more visually appealing device than the chunky, plastic-looking alternatives from competitors.

The Google post also confirmed it will be working on upcoming Android Wear releases with other manufacturers including HTC, Asus, and Samsung, and chipset makers Intel, Imagination, Qualcomm, Broadcom and MediaTek.

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