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Google Announces “Android Wear” Smartwatches

Submitted by on March 19, 2014 – 10:11 am2 Comments

Google announced this week that its Android OS will be used in an upcoming range of wearable smartwatch devices. The Android Wear enters a growing field that includes the Samsung Galaxy Gear and an anticipated Apple iWatch; but it seems to try to avoid the issues of bulkiness and impracticality of its predecessors.

The company released two videos about the devices, both typical of tech announcements in different ways. The first shows Android engineers and designers discussing the new watches, and showing off their proposed features:

The second video is more like a typical television or web commercial for a new device. It shows attractive young people leading full, fun, problem-free and well-informed lives, largely thanks to the new gadget strapped to their wrist:

Features will reportedly include Google Now functionality, easy access to local weather and news, voice activated controls, voice activated messaging, music, and even interaction with other smart devices. Some of the features shown in this video wouldn’t quite be possible yet; but actions like opening the garage door with the smartwatch would likely come as Google develops whole device ecosystems, helped by its purchase of smart home device maker Nest.

Google also announced partnerships with manufacturers. Motorola and LG both unveiled images of their first watches, showing sleek devices much different than the problem-ridden Samsung Galaxy Gear. Google also listed Asus, HTC, and Samsung as partners, and designer watch maker Fossil released a statement saying it is working with Google.

This isn’t Google’s first foray into wearable technology. The company is famously testing its Google Glass augmented reality spectacles before making them available to general consumers. But Glass has created a backlash against users, raised privacy concerns, and even prompted legislation about distracted driving.

What do you think- will the next round of smartwatches really sell the device category? Let us know in the Comments.

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