While some would call it an inevitable eventuality, others were taken a bit aback when Google teased a wearable SDK at SXSW a couple weeks back, and later announced Android Wear. For those of you playing at home, Google has created no fewer than five variants of the Android OS tuned to a specific piece or style of hardware to date - Google TV, Chromecast (which does indeed run Android), Google Glass, Nexus Q, and now Android Wear.
Google threw the tech world a curveball today with its new Android Wear platform, a wearable version of Android that's starting with "smart" watches. Digging through some of the developer documentation reveals even more information on the upcoming platform than what's in the consumer-facing videos. After reading through the developer site, a rough image of Android Wear begins to take shape.
There are three major functions of Wear: a Google Now-style "homescreen" with a a scrollable list of cards, a notification system that alerts you to information from your smartphone, and a series of contextual tools that pop up during certain activities.
That new smartwatch may not be the first platform that comes to mind when the urge comes to kill time gaming, but Pebble wants to change that. Today at the Game Developer's Conference in San Francisco, the company announced three games that it's immediately making available for its smartwatch. The three titles - Mr. Runner, Icon Pop Quiz, and Hatchi - all come from different developers, and as you can see below, they're now just a tap away in the Pebble appstore.
It's no mystery that Google has been poking around wearable gadgets for quite some time. The list of projects seems to keep growing as we hear about rumors of an LG-made smartwatch, another prototype watch designed by Motorola, and of course, Google's own Glass. Earlier today at SXSW, Sundar Pichai took to the stage to announce plans to release a brand new SDK for Android-based wearable devices in about two weeks.
The smartwatch craze has gotten a little out of hand, if you'll pardon the pun. Various manufacturers and innumerable crowdfunding campaigns seem ready to leap into the shallow waters already populated by Pebble, Sony, Fitbit and the like. Just because Samsung's Galaxy Gear is the most mainstream of these wearable devices doesn't mean it's the best - on the contrary, in addition to general dissatisfaction with the somewhat rushed hardware, many reviewers found themselves questioning the need for a relatively powerful and feature-filled device on their wrist.
A few days ago, we published a story about Google's possibly upcoming smartwatch. Current rumors suggest that the watch may be ready in time for Google I/O, and that it might be made by LG. We also mentioned that we had heard of a Motorola prototype previously - a prototype that may have been scrapped in favor of a new design from the manufacturer who made the Nexus 4 and 5.
Motorola Mobility held a Q&A session at Mobile World Congress today, and while there wasn't much in the way of spectacle to coincide with the event, there were quite a few substantive announcements. For starters, the company is working on a watch that will be available some time this year. This won't be the first thing Motorola's tried to strap onto our wrists, but the company says style and battery life are two things it intends to address, and it would prefer to create a piece of jewelry rather than ugly tech.
Love it or hate it, the smartwatch is a category that seemingly every manufacturer still wants to conquer. No matter how many devices debut, and no matter how they perform, it seems there are those companies who still think that they have the right solution. According to TechCrunch, @evleaks, and others, Google is one such company, and plans to debut its own smartwatch before or during this year's Google I/O conference.
Samsung leaks have been harder to come by as of late - with the Galaxy S5 probably arriving at a press event on Monday, we still haven't seen hide nor hair of the hardware. But perennial leaker Evleaks has just posted two photos of what appear to be successors to the Galaxy Gear smartwatch, the Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo. According to a later tweet, the watches may drop the standard "Galaxy" branding.
If you've been eyeing the Qualcomm Toq, but $350 was a bit much for your taste, it might be time to take another look. Qualcomm just dropped the price of its smartwatch by a Benjamin, leaving it at a more palatable $250 with free shipping. This puts the full-color wearable at a mere $1 above the price of its closest competitor, the black & white-only Pebble Steel.
The timing may not be a coincidence after a report from Bloomberg suggested HTC is making a smartwatch based on the Toq and plans to show it off at Mobile World Congress.