Google has taken a giant leap in extending the application of its Android platform beyond mobiles and Google Glass to wearables. While Glass is easily one of the most high profile examples of wearable tech, it is still more of an experiment – it is not a full-fledged consumer device.
While looking at Android Wear, we will all need to stretch our imagination to understand how this new innovation will change our lives going forward. Android wear is expected to make our lives much simpler and add efficiency to all our efforts – the key idea is of ‘glanceable’ information. While we all carry smartphones along wherever we go. Do we really have need or space for wearable tech? Google feels that Android wearables will add much more value beyond what smartphones do.
What makes the launch of Android Wear really exciting is that it is easily the next big step after smartphone and iPad operating systems. Google is blazing a trial and laying down some rules and guidelines for developers and designers targeting wearable tech.
It will begin with a watch and extend to a host of other wearable devices
In extending the capability of Android operating system, Google has chosen to experiment with a watch first. The reason is simple: a smart watch is the most popularly used wearable device, and people are familiar with wearing conventional watches. Google has collaborated with major consumer electronics manufacturers like HTC, LG, Asus, Motorola and chip makers like Imagination, Intel, Mediatek and Broadcom to introduce watches that are powered by Android. To ensure that these watches appeal to the masses it has also tied up with Fossil group, a global leader in fashion brands.
Why would people consider buying such devices? What do Wearable Watches offer?
1. Get the updates that matter, while you are on move
You are on the move and you need some information, the Android-powered watch will fetch the desired information right there on the square or round screen of your watch. You can expect to receive the most latest updates from your favorite social apps and even alerts on some attractive shopping discounts and promotional offers. It will make sure that you do not miss on what you need to know and what matters to you.
2. Watch as your personal assistant
If you need help, you need whip out a mobile and enter the query. If it is a query that you have, all what you have to do is simply say “Ok Google” and ask whatever query you may have like “Which are the good restaurants around” or “How far is Boston from New York” or even “What time is my flight departing today” or anything else. You may even ask the wearable to help you with certain tasks like calling a cab or making a reservation at a restaurant and many others. This adds an extra layer of comfort that smart mobile devices don’t provide.
3. Help you manage your health better
With so many powerful apps that can be designed on this platform you can even look to manage your health well. The wearable can tell you how many calories you have burnt while you were walking or cycling. If you are on a medication the wearable will alert you that you need to take your dose for the day. If you suffer from a chronic condition the wearable will alert you that you need a prescription refill or even order it on its own.
There are endless ways in which an Android wearable device can enrich lives Google has opened gates for apps developers to extend their creativity and design apps that can change people’s lives for the better. Obviously, with so many creative minds working on developing apps we will for sure witness some very interesting apps that people will truly appreciate. Following the four pillars of wearable tech – glanceability, zero-low interaction, contextual awareness, personal assistance – developers can create a new kind of app, designer specifically for wearable technology.
And naturally, the acceptance and reach of watches powered with Android wear will widen. Many of the applications that are designed for smartphones can also be tweaked to work on an Android-powered watch. However, a rehash of existing apps may not be what users want. What would help wearable gain acceptance would rather be capabilities that extend beyond smartphones.
Competition for Android Wears
It is quite unlikely that Apple will sit on the fence and see Google walk off with the pie of this potentially lucrative business opportunity. It has been speculated since long that Apple is going to hit the market with an iWatch. Expectations for a 2013 launch proven false, and if fresh rumors are to be believed, an iWatch launch should be expected anytime this year. There are reports that Apple has already filed for a trademark on iWatch in Japan andRussia and is eying for a launch in September this year.
What could be the potential price tag of an Android wear powered watch?
When it comes to pricing, it would be fair to expect that Google will continue with its tradition of keeping a very competitive price tag. The watch would be pitched against Pebble Steel smartwatch which is already available on the market. Besides Pebble, there is also Samsung and Sony on the market. Samsung has three variants – Gear 2, Gear 2 Neo and Gear Fit, which are priced in the range $199 to $300.
Google would obviously try to build more functionalities and power to its watches, but would not like to put a premium to that in line with its tradition. Google is likely to match the price range of competing products and would price it in the range $150 to $300.
So, if you are a technology freak and a Google fan you would now desperately wait for the much anticipated launch of the sci-fi watch that will change lives of people forever. After watches become a hit, we can expect more software enabled wearable to touch our bodies and make our lives more comfortable. Needless to say, this will open the floodgates of opportunity for developers.