Google’s first wearable, the Google Glass, has generated a lot of media attention since it debuted a couple years ago, but I think it may have always been intended as a sideshow in Google’s wearables effort.
The main show was unveiled today, and if it lives up to the early hype then Android Wear is going to be much bigger than the $5,000 Google Glass.
Android Wear isn’t so much the Google smartwatch we’ve been hearing rumors about as it is a platform for wearables. It’s intended to to make it easier for developers, both app and device, to integrate smartwatches and other wearables into Android.
The platform is launching next quarter, but an early developer preview is available now. Google has also announced a couple launch partners, with more promised to join the fun later this year.
Both LG, the rumored Google smartwatch partner, and Motorola, the previous rumored Google smartwatch partner, are announcing new smart watches today based on Android Wear. Theis square, while the Moto 360 eschews corners and goes with a traditional round watchface.
On a related note, isn’t it interesting how the Google smartwatch rumors were so close and yet so wrong? To be fair, the rumors weren’t wrong so much as they didn’t convey the sheer scale of Google’s ambitions.
Release a smartwatch? Hah. Google doesn’t think that small.
Android Wear is going to focus on smartwatches at first, and after it has sparked that market into existence Google plans to extend support for other wearables.
At this point only 2 products have been officially unveiled, and we have a look at a couple of different approaches to how Android Wear might be used. LG’s G Watch appears to be focused on being simply a notification window, with emphasis on utility, but the Moto 360 is designed with a smarter look that might be intended for the fashion-savvy crowd.
Update: Qualcomm has confirmed that they too will be getting involved with Android Wear, but they have yet to share any specifics.
For more details on the LG Watch, you can check out their TechCrunch has a good post about the Moto 360, and Motorola has released this promo video for the Moto 360:.