25
Jun
wearthumb

Today's Google I/O isn't exactly the coming out party for Android Wear - the company has already demonstrated the wearable platform in a preview form. But for developers, it's the main event: the full Wear software development kit will be available soon, and some of the more esoteric capabilities were elaborated upon. The early portions of the keynote demonstrated the user interface, which we've seen before, but the demonstrated capabilities are nonetheless impressive.

Wear5

Wear is basically a list of tiny notifications, which can either be static or include synced functionality. Most of these notifications are the same basic stuff you've seen in Google Now: airport alerts, calendar reminders, weather information. These items can be split into multiple pages accessible with a side-swipe, and dismissed in the same way that Android notifications are. When dismissed on the watch, the relevant notification will also be dismissed on your phone, cutting down on general headaches.

WearFail

App data, such as saved notes in Google Keep, will also be constantly synced between your phone and watch. To install relevant apps on a Google Wear device, just install the primary app on your phone; the Wear app will automatically appear on you wrist, no Pebble-style installation required. The Google I/O demonstration showed a pizza ordering app with multiple steps, and more mundane things like basic definition and music controls will also be available.

Wear6 (1)

Wear4 Wear7

As we've seen with the Moto 360, wear supports multiple watch faces. On the main watch face (which will be "always on" for at least some models, including the LG G Watch), you can tap and hold it like a wallpaper to choose between faces. This is also where you'll enter "OK Google" commands.

When you get a call on your phone, you can tap to answer it, or choose from canned SMS replies, which should be handy for the theater. If you'd rather not be disturbed at all, there's an easy "mute" mode accessible with a downward swipe, which won't be disabled until you tell it to stop. This will stop all audible and vibrating alerts. There will also be fitness support with a basic pedometer and step history, and in at least some cases, heart rate hardware. Proximity detection will allow smartphones to bypass the Android lockscreen when a recognized Wear device is near.

Wear2

On the hardware front, Google announced that all the Android Wear devices currently in development are waterproof. LG's G Watch and the newly-announced Samsung Gear Live will be available in the Google Play Store later today, presumably in the United States. Unfortunately, the Moto 360 with its unique round screen has been pushed back to a nebulous "later this summer." Specifications and prices were not mentioned.

We'll update this post when the full Android Wear SDK is available later during I/O.

Update: The Android Wear webpage has been updated with pretty pictures, but the full SDK still hasn't been posted to the developer site.

Michael Crider
Michael is a native Texan and a former graphic designer. He's been covering technology in general and Android in particular since 2011. His interests include folk music, football, science fiction, and salsa verde, in no particular order.

  • Serge Cebrian

    I want a hand watch video call.. I would feel like a spy!!

  • http://twitter.com/anishbhalerao Anish Bhalerao

    Look at Samsung and Pebble and what not.
    Then look at this.
    Then laugh endlessly at Samsung and Pebble and what not!

    "Android Wear throws Pebble and Galaxy (out of) Gear!"

    • Hatshi

      Then look at Samsung's Gear Live with Android Wear.

      • David

        Also, Pebble paved the road for all other smart watches to follow. I love it, even though I certainly could acknowledge its limitations even before Wear was remotely mentioned. I consider it to be the most useful, successful first generation smart watch.

    • Sergii Pylypenko

      Except that Pebble was released more than a year ago, and was $80 cheaper than G Watch.
      Without Pebble success, Google would introduce Android Wear a year or two later.

  • Daniel Collins

    The navbar in android L looks stupid.

  • Tony

    unlocking your Android phone lockscreen with a Wear device in proximity is awesome. I wonder if that's only going to be a new feature of Android L, since I believe it's a difficult thing to do without root in the current Android version.