The year 2014 is definitely turning out to be the year of wearable technology as predicted by many tech pundits. Google has announced its own wearable product range aptly dubbed Android Wear.
News of the launch was brought to my attention by a tweet from Sundar Pichai who is the senior vice president at Google in charge of Android, Chrome and Google Apps.
Really excited to introduce Android for Wearables to a new generation of devices with a developer preview today http://t.co/ITx7f6Lb3f
— sundarpichai (@sundarpichai) March 18, 2014
Google now joins the fray to compete with the likes of technology giants Samsung who last year launched their Galaxy Gear smartwatch. This year, Samsung already unveiled the second iteration of their smartwatch brand, the Galaxy Gear 2 and Galaxy Gear Neo smartwatches to complement the Galaxy Note 3 shortly before MWC2014.
Smartwatches are by no means something new. The startup Pebble has had its smartwatch range since early last year. What sets the new range of smartwatches apart from the last generation of smartwatches is their ability to directly communicate with smartphones over a larger range of functions as well as the ability (in some cases) to independently function as smartphones. The range of sensors at the disposal of smartwatches has increased too – heart rate monitors, barometers, GPS, gyroscopes, accelerometers, thermometers, compasses and humidity sensors, to name just a few.
According to Google, Android Wear smartwatches will function like having a smartphone on your sleeve, i.e. you will be able to have instant access to information using Google Now directly from your wrist. Additionally you can use Android Wear smartwatches for fitness and health tracking, as well as controlling other devices such as media players.
The smartwatch war by the tech giants is likely to heat up when tech giant Apple finally unveil their iWatch. The internet has already been rife with speculation on how the iWatch is likely to look and what kind of specifications it is likely to have.
Developers interested in developing apps for Android Wear smartwtches and other smart wearables can already rejoice because there is already a preview of the Android Wear SDK. If you are an Android developer you can already play around with the SDK preview by updating your SDK manager. There you will find the Android Wear SDK ready to download. There is also a new section for wearables on the Android Developers site. You can find it on http://developer.android.com/wear
The Android Wear range of smartwatches are expected to be available later this year. You can find a promo video of Android Wear by following this link or watching the embedded video below: