Android Wear is Google's way onto your wrist through smartwatches from the likes of LG, Motorola and Samsung. Expect plenty more details to arrive at Google I/O, but heres' what we know now.
LG G Watch
LG has been a major player in the Nexus Android smartphone platform, and it doesn't want to miss out on smartwatches. The South Korea-based company has announced it will make the LG G Watch available in the second quarter of the year.
LG will make the G Watch compatible with a number of the smartphones currently available on the market, and it aims to present relevant information to users. They can say "OK Google" like on many Android smartphones to ask questions and get answers.
LG says it will be the first watch on the market powered by Android Wear.
"The opportunity to work with Google on LG G Watch was the perfect chance for LG to really pull out all stops in both design and engineering," said Dr Jong-seok Park, president and CEO of LG Electronics Mobile Communications Company.
"With the LG G Watch, LG is continuing the milestones we’ve set in wearables following in the footsteps of the world’s first 3G Touch Watch Phone in 2009 and the Prada Link in 2008. We’re confident that a well-designed device has the potential to take the smart wearable market by storm."
It sounds like Google and LG have really worked closely together on the G Watch's launch.
Motorola Moto 360
Motorola, who Google recently sold to Lenovo, is attacking the smartwatch market by going back in time.
"When we started to think about what we wanted to do with the design of the watch, we really went back in time," Jim Wicks, head of consumer experience design at Motorola, said. "This is all about the invention of the modern time piece. We decided if we're going to do the Moto 360, we must do it round."
The Moto 360 will have the design that you've come to know over the years. It will be round and retain the look and feel of the traditional watch, but with the twist of the wrist, users will be able to see subtle alerts and notifications to see who’s emailing or calling, what time your next meeting is, or a friend’s latest social post. Before twisting the wrist, it looks like any other stylish, analog watch.
"Most importantly, Moto 360’s iconic design, featuring a round face and premium materials, feels comfortable and familiar on your wrist," Motorola wrote on its blog. "It’s everything you need, with a look that you want."
Motorola, like LG, will adopt the "OK Google" phrase into its smartwatch to enable users to use their voice to quickly gain information instead of having to pull out their phone to swipe through apps. The goal is to give you all the information on your wrist as quick as possible.
Motorola plans to have the Moto 360 available in a variety of styles globally in 2014, starting in the US.
If you thought technology companies were the only ones going to get in on the smartwatch craze, think again. Fossil Watches, a popular watch company based out of the US, has confirmed it will launch Android Wear watches.
Yes, this means a traditional watch maker will be jumping behind the platform. We wonder if other big names like Rolex, Tag Hauer, Swiss, and Timex will join in the smartwatch craze, especially now that there is a software designed specifically for them.
Fossil and Google haven't detailed what the Fossil smartwatch will look like (or when we may see them). We've contacted Fossil in hopes of learning more, and we will update you when more information comes to light.
Sony has the Smart Watch 2, and although that isn't an Android Wear device it is a logical conclusion to believe that Sony might look to offer a version of the watch with Android Wear support. In a statement to Pocket-lint a Sony spokeswomen had the following to say:
"We’re excited about the potential of Android Wear to extend the mobile OS experience into wearable devices - Google is a strong partner of ours, but we have no further comment to make at this moment in time."
A long list of partners, because it's the Android approach
To have Android Wear optimised for their devices, Google has confirmed that it is already working with Asus, HTC, LG, Motorola, and Samsung, as well as chip makers Broadcom, Imagination, Intel, Mediatek, and Qualcomm.
You can really tell the Android effect is going into place with the Android Wear program, with Google already having multiple partners. Google may have really done itself a favour announcing the platform before Apple's rumoured iWatch program.
Soon, we'll probably see Android Wear in devices of every major smartphone manufacturer worldwide. If done right, Google will gain a huge marketshare of this emerging space, long before other software players - aka Apple - can get the chance to. Time will tell.
What hasn't been detailed is the pricing of these watches. Presumably Google and other partners will stick relative to what's already found on the market.
Pebble, which was really the first to jump on the scene thanks to its Kickstarter backing, is priced at $249.95. Samsung priced its original Galaxy Gear at $299. Sony priced its Sony Smart Watch 2 at $199. Google will probably stay around these prices.