Android Wear: Google’s Tailor-Made Wearables Operating System

Android Wear is Google’s latest baby, an operating system made just for wearable devices. The internet giant announced the new OS via its official blog on March 18 with a video showing some of the possibilities that the OS could offer, such as opening a garage door from a smartwatch or searching online by just speaking a few words to the wrist.

Announcement Intended for Developers

While the promotional video was partly a way to whet the appetites of gadget-loving consumers, it can also be taken as a heads-up for developers to get creative. Android Wear’s success will be heavily dependent on the ecosystem of apps that it can accommodate, so Google is giving notice to developers that apps should be wearable-friendly, as there will be a whole new host of devices that utilize the new OS coming soon.

Google specifies that they are working with electronics manufacturers Samsung, Asus, LG, and HTC, as well as prominent chip makers Intel and Qualcomm, among others. They said in their blog post that in partnership with these other companies, consumers can expect smartwatches using the Android Wear OS to hit the shelves “later this year.”

What Will the OS Do?

There are four main points that Google has highlighted about the OS. It gives “useful information when you need it most,” meaning it pushes notifications and updates from social networking sites, to-do lists, messaging apps, and e-mails. The OS gives “straight answers to spoken questions,” users just have to say “OK Google” to start a voice search or give a command.

Thirdly, they have touted the ability to “better monitor your health and fitness” using tracking apps and fitness goal reminders. Lastly, and perhaps most promising of all, is that the OS is branded as “your key to a multiscreen world.” This is where there is the most room for creativity on the part of developers, and where a smartwatch could potentially become the keys to your garage, not just a proxy through which to access your other mobile devices, as the promotional video depicts.

According to TIME, the devices that use Android Wear will have touchscreen displays, with swipe-style scrolling for sifting through notifications and updates. There are still a number of details about the OS and the devices’ specifications that have not yet been released. No doubt these gray areas will become clearer as the year goes on and the interest in smartwatches and wearable devices grows.

What features would you most like to see on an Android Wear OS?

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