Google today announced “Android wear.” While this could allow for a range of wearables (and probably will in the future), what the company previewed in two videos were smartwatches.
The user experience appears to be based on a combination of Google Now notifications and voice search (“OK Google”). There’s also a developer preview being made available today. Google anticipates that Android-based wearables (beyond Glass) will become yet another platform for Android developers.
The company said that it has designed an entirely new UI “for this form factor” (watches). In addition, in a blog post, Google said that it was already working with a range of partners including fashion brands:
We’re also already working with several consumer electronics manufacturers, including Asus, HTC, LG, Motorola and Samsung; chip makers Broadcom, Imagination, Intel, Mediatek and Qualcomm; and fashion brands like the Fossil Group to bring you watches powered by Android Wear later this year.
Awkward design is what killed the prospects for Samsung’s initial Gear smartwatch. Google’s smartwatches — assume there will be several — are likely to sell better than Samsung’s now Tizen-based Gear line. Consumer survey data indicate greater interest in smartwatches vs. internet enabled headsets like Glass.
There’s no discussion about price or whether these devices will offer their own, independent internet connectivity vs. requiring a smartphone bluetooth connection. I would imagine the latter.
There are now a range of internet-enabled watches in the market. Apple is also widely expected to release a smartwatch perhaps later this year.