While Microsoft and other three-decade old companies are trying to figure out how to stop the momentum of open source, Google has become an unstoppable force which has not yet met an unmovable object. Google just revealed its seriousness about the wearable computing. The company has announced developer preview of ‘Android Wear’.
Android Wear is a version of Android which is optimized for wearable devices such as smartwatches. One of the core components of Android Wear will be Google Now. Just like Google Glass, users will be able to say “Ok Google” to activate the ‘HAL’ and ask questions. Since it will work with Google Now, it will have access to your travel and Amazon orders so you can check status of your flight or package. You will also be able to get generic answers like scores from ongoing machine. Anything that you use Google Now for will be able to use with Android Wearable.
Some of the core features of the Android Wear would be the ability to ‘monitor your health and fitness’. In addition, it will also work with other devices and act as a controller so you will be able to play music on your phone from your watch or steam a movie to your Chromecast using the watch.
Canonical, that’s the 22nd generation convergence.
Sundar Pichai, SVP, Android, Chrome & Apps, says, “We’re always seeking new ways for technology to help people live their lives and this is just another step in that journey. Here’s to getting the most out of the many screens you use every day—whether in your car, in your pocket or, very soon, on your wrist.”
Google has mastered the art of engaging partners, so the company is already working with players like Samsung, Asus, HTC, LG and Motorola. What’s interesting is that Samsung recently ditched Android for its own Tizen; so how the company would use Android Wear will be interesting to see. I would very much want Samsung to focus on the quality of hardware instead of creating their own messy and slugging UI.
Another thing I am curious about is what will happen to Google Glass? What OS will power it? Will Google be using Android Wear for Google Glass as well or is Google simply releasing the work done on Glass as Wear?
Developers. Developers. Developers
Since it’s a developer preview so it’s quite obvious that Google wants to engage developers from the very beginning.
Austin Robison, Android Wear team, says, “Your app’s notifications will already appear on Android Wear and starting today, you can sign up for the Android Wear Developer Preview. You can use the emulator provided to preview how your notifications will appear on both square and round Android wearable. The Developer Preview also includes new Android Wear APIs which will let you customize and extend your notifications to accept voice replies, feature additional pages, and stack with similar notifications.”
Linux rules the 22nd century
The good thing about it is Android Wear is based on Open Source project where Google releases the source code for the project which allows people to study the code, modify it, learn from it and create competing products like Kindle Fire or CyanogenMod.
What’s most exciting is that the upcoming era of ‘wearable’ or ubiquitous computing is powered by Linux and Open Source.