Google’s Android Wear Development

Today Google announced Android Wear, a project that extends Android to wearables. Google will start with watches that will be capable of displaying posts and updates, answers via “OK Google” voice commands, provides Google Now-like functionality, as well as interfacing to a number of fitness and health related data.

Because Android for wearables works with Android’s rich notification system, many apps will already work well, says Google. It relies heavily on Google Now functionality. A Developer Preview is available today to tailor existing app notifications for watches powered by Android Wear.

Google says it’s working with Asus, HTC, LG, Motorola and Samsung; chip makers Broadcom, Imagination, Intel, Mediatek and Qualcomm; and fashion brands like the Fossil Group to bring you watches powered by Android Wear later this year.

Motorola’s Moto 360will be available in a variety of styles globally in Summer 2014 and LG’s G Watch is expected next quarter with Android Wear.

Wearables at CES 2014 include:

  • the Pebble Steel. It costs $100 more than the $150 original model — which will continue to be available.
  • ZTE’s first smartwatch, called the BlueWatch is similar to a Pebble with three buttons on the left and one on its right — just like the Pebble — and uses a magnetically attached USB cable to charge its battery, again, just like the Pebble.
  • Sony’s Core fitness tracker has a bundle of sensors that can be repurposed. Right now it’s a fitness tracker, but Sony eventually wants its technology to be put inside of smartphones and other hardware.
  • LG’s Lifeband Touch fitness tracker keeps track of calories burned, steps walked, and other fitness statistics, while an OLED touch display acts lets users see phone notifications, check biometrics, and play music.
  • Qualcomm’s Toq was cut $50 to $300 from its regular $350 price tag this week.
  • Intel’s smartwatch prototype comes with all the typical features of a smartwatch, but it is also capable of location-based notifications unlike other smartwatches currently on the market. Commercial availability will likely come some time this year.
  • British chipmaker CSR unveiled a new line of Bluetooth Smart jewelry.
  • Garmin announced a new line of wearables with its new Vivofit fitness band, which resemble similar devices like the Nike+ Fuelband and the Fitbit Force.
  • MetaWatch, born from ex-Fossil engineers, is focusing on design and aesthetics.
  • Movea, a company that specializes in motion processing software, has a wearable wristband reference design with a 9-Axis Sensor for sports and wellness applications. For activity classification, Movea claims a success rate higher than 95%, along with the industry’s lowest error score.
  • The Razer Nabu melds smartphone notifications with a suite of fitness-tracking features. The device will work with both iOS and Android phones over Bluetooth Low Energy. Razer is hoping third-party developers will run with it.
  • GlassUp takes on Google with sporty style in the June/July time frame. The company is targeting a price of $399, less than what Google will charge.
  • Samsung’s new Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo are Tizen-powered, reports C/Net. They allow users to accept or ignore incoming calls and messages, and providing instant notification options.

Juniper Research predicts retail revenue from smart wearable devices, including smart watches and glasses , will reach $19 billion by 2018 compared with $1.4 billion this year.

Posted by Sam Churchill on .

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