Android-Wear-02Earlier this month, Google’s Senior Vice President of Android and Chrome Sundar Pichai did mention that Android Wear was coming in a “couple of weeks”, and more details about this new Android has come up today as Google officially announces Android Wear, an OS dedicated to wearables, but also smart appliances.

Android Wear Is Voice-Driven

Android-Wear-01The first devices to benefit from Android Wear are going to be the watches. Their primary role remains to be notification devices, but Google would like to add an efficient voice command system in which the watch would be the primary input. It makes sense because pulling the phone out of a pocket to speak a command does induce a fair amount friction that deter many users from using that option.

As usual, you can say “OK Google” to fire a voice command, and Android Wear will help you send a text message, call a friend or set an alarm. This is heavily relying on Android’s ability to recognize voice commands properly, but since they have the best voice interpreter on the market, this is hard to beat right now.

Using the existing Google Now infrastructure, Google can provide “straight answers” to voice commands and display those on the small watch display. This would be most convenient for quick fact-checks, weather, currency conversions and other simple things that Google has a great answer for.

Developers And Device Makers Can Jump In Now

Google also wants the watch to act as a bio-sensor that monitors your health. Android Wear is designed to communicate with your favorite fitness apps (some work will be required from the app developers). Whether a sensor is integrated to the watch or not will be probably decided by the manufacturer.

Android-Wear-03At the moment Android Wear is at the Developer Preview stage, so app developers and device makers can contact Google to have an early access. In theory, Android wear is mostly about having existing Android apps talking to a thin Android Wear counterpart, so the work should be incremental for most developers.

Google has revealed an official list of hardware partners that are already working on devices, here it is: Samsung, LG, Motorola, ASUS, Fossil and HTC. Broadcom, Qualcomm and Intel are among the chipmakers supporting the initiative. The smartwatch arms race has just reached a new level, and I’m fairly sure that products will appear this fall. Check out the LG smart watch announcement.

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