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Google Android Wear Teases with Smartwatches

aNewDomain.net — Wearables, wearables, wearables. Geez. We get it already. Ever since CES 2014, everybody has been talking about wearable technology — from Google Glass to Samsung Gear and everything else in between. What, if anything, is Apple going to do in the wearables market? Inquiring minds want to know. And besides, is wearable tech really that hot? Today the Android Google+ page shared a quick tease of a post for the forthcoming Android Wear smartwatch. At least, that’s what’s in the works initially.

Google’s Android team announced there are discussions with several different hardware manufacturers to conjure up some wearable tech, all integrated with the world of Android. Names such as HTC, LG, and Samsung came up. I have a few questions about Android Wear (and wearable tech in general).

  1. What else is there besides watches or other wrist-wearable items? Glasses? Okay, that’s two items (or three at the most). I’m not saying that more is needed. I’m just curious to know what the threshold is before things get too weird. Oh wait, isn’t that being said about Glass at the moment?
  2. If these devices are going to be voice controlled (or at least voice responsive), how reliable can we expect them to be? The video shows the consumers speaking comfortably into the smartwatch on their wrist.  There was even a scene with a gentleman riding on a bus and speaking comfortably into the device. How is this successfully possible?

I don’t know about you, but my Google devices, integrated with GoogleNow voice search, is challenged by my enunciation and by ambient sound. Speaking into my device while out in public is really a hit or miss on accuracy due to the noise. Will the Android Wear microphone be sensitive enough to pick up your voice but not too sensitive to pick up ambient sound? Sounds are challenging in my opinion.

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Image credit: Ant Pruitt

It would be nice to see GoogleNow information, such as flight schedules and sports scores, on your wrist. But will you be able  to check out your notifications and messages, too? More than likely, it will mirror the functionality of the Pebble watch.

That being said, is this sort of technology really ready to make a big splash in the marketplace? Will it be worthy of making you dig out your hard-earned dollars for a somewhat-quicker way to check your Facebook notifications? Sure, the release of the SDK means a lot for app potential. Personally, I’m not with it just yet. I saw the Motorola 360 watch and love it. Actually, I just loved the way the device looked! I cared less about the functionality as a smartwatch, but it’s a nice looking … watch.

So there’s Pebble, Google and Samsung in the mix. Where’s Apple? We’re still waiting for an announcement from the tech giant. Then again, maybe Apple is more concerned about developing a new television — I kid!

What are your thoughts on the announcement from Google? Are you in for this wearable tech or for what others provide? What do you look for (and hope for) in wearable technology? Leave me a comment below with your thoughts.

I’m Ant Pruitt and this is aNewDomain.net.

Based in Charlotte, NC, Ant Pruitt is an IT pro, a columnist and the podcast captain ataNewDomain.net. Look for his Smartphone Photographers Community and Yet Another Tech Show. Follow him @ihavnolyfe or on Google+ and email him at Ant@aNewDomain.net. See all Ant’s articles on aNewDomain.net by following this link.

  • http://dispersedthoughts.wordpress.com/ Robert Knight

    The Motorola 360 will be the one to beat if it can look as good as they are showing. Personally, I only want the thing to show me simple information. Simple stuff such as the time, temp, and Google now info like packages delivered, and emergency alerts.

    Showing me who is calling would be a bonus, but I would still take the voice call via my Bluetooth headset.

    I can see these being a boon for those that live in cities where you worry about people jacking your phone out of your hand if you take it out.

    • Ant Pruitt

      Interesting, Robert. I didn’t think about the whole grab and dash phenomenon we have to battle regarding cell phones.
      Thanks for reading and your comments!

      -RAP, II

      • http://dispersedthoughts.wordpress.com/ Robert Knight

        That’s always my fear when I head into new or strange places and I have to have my device out in the open.

  • http://careyhead.net/ Carey Head

    I’m in agreement about the most valuable function they demonstrated: voice control. As it is, my moto x (which is the finest mobile device I’ve ever met) will sometimes activate when it hears an OK. Not to mention the ambient noise.

    I have a HOT smartwatch on its way in their first wave of shipment. What got me to like that device over all others is that you can talk on your phone by cupping your hand to your ear. You can also initiate voice control that way.

    Still, this 360 looks gorgeous and will probably be the one to beat (excepting whatever iDevice the Appletons will swoon over, regardless).

    • Ant Pruitt

      Thanks for your comment, Carey. I’m curious to see how well you can hear on your HOT watch.

      -RAP, II

  • lpress

    I’ve not worn a watch for many many years — it will take some compelling applications to get me to do so. If I ever do have a “watch,” I want a leather band, not some cheesy-feeling plastic. (Unless the band is also a wrap around display).

    • Ant Pruitt

      In other words, Larry, you want it to LOOK good first. I’m with you on that one. Thanks for reading!

      -RAP, II

      • lpress

        Hmm — I was thinking of comfort more than looks, but you have a point. When I travel, I do wear a watch and it has a very simple design, is thin and has a leather band. The early wrist-mounted I/O devices (is there a generic name for these things?) are the opposite of that. I think they are pretty ugly.

        I’d sacrifice looks for a really useful app before I’d sacrifice comfort, but, for me, the main problem at present remains no compelling app.

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