At the Google I/O Conference which kickstarted today, we’ve seen Sundar Pichai and his team announce Android One, details on the next Android version but also the first big look at Android Wear. We know from March that there are going to be at least two new smartwatches released on the market with Android Wear – LG G Watch and Moto 360, but we haven’t seen too many details about the software. So let’s have a look at some of the most important features that have been showcased at the Google I/O Conference.
Design elements from Android L
Google has also showcased the Android L developer preview and by the looks of it, we see that Android Wear bears the same design elements as the upcoming Android version. Google also announced Android TV and you will be able to control it from your Androd Wear-powered smartwatch, just like on your tablet or smartphone, which shows another similarity with the next Android version.
Polished smartphone to smartwatch experience
Your Android Wear smartwatch is meant to be your must-have companion for your Android smartphone and on stage, the team has demoed some nice functionalities. For example, when you open an app on your Android Wear smartwatch, any action that you perform will automatically take place in the same app that’s installed on your smartphone. Also, if you swipe away a notification on your smartwatch, it will disappear from your smartphone, as well.
This is an awesome feature and will get even more advanced as Android Wear will get more updates. Syncing of apps and information works from your Android smartphone to your smartwatch, as well. For example, if you bought a plane ticket on your smartphone, your boarding pass and flight info will automatically appear on your Android Wear smartwatch.
Android Wear smartwatches sync with your smartphone but is also contextually aware. So, by reading your location data, it can tell where you are at any given moment and issue relevant notifications related to your location. For example, you can ask your smartwatch to remind you to send a postcard once you land in Paris. Not only will it remind you to do that but will also feed you with relevant information about local interesting sights.
One of the reasons why one would get an Android Wear is because it’s really cool to talk to your wrist and use voice control to get things done. So, with Android Wear, you can just say “Ok Google, call me a car” and you will get a ride from Lyft. You can use Google Now to establish reminders and many other things. Expect more awesome apps to make their way, as developers will be able to make applications with voice replies and notification pages.
- Step tracking and heart rate – if your Android Wear smartwatch comes with the right sensors, you will be able to count steps, check out your past performance and also your heart rate. Basic features for a fitness tracking device.
- It knows that you are holding the smartphone – if you are holding your smartphone with your smartwatch on, you no longer have to unlock your phone using a pin or password. The smartphone knows you are the owner, probably thanks to the proximity sensor.
- When you raise your LG G smartwatch, it will turn from black and white to full color. It also has an always-on display. This feature could make its way to other devices, as well.
- Music control – you just say “Ok Google play some music” and you will start listening from your phone, and when you please, you can pause, play, and skip tracks on your watch.
- Take notes – again, with voice control, you will be able to create notes. During the demo this feature failed to work, let’s hope it doesn’t in real-life.
This is just the beginning of Android Wear and there will be many other features coming up, as developers will start creating awesome apps. For example, you could order pizza from your Android Wear smartwatch and have it delivered at your door. With such a huge potential ahead, Apple’s response with iWatch now almost seems a sure thing.