Google Launches First Android Wear Devices, Featuring Always-On Displays and Card-Based Interface

At today's Google I/O event in San Francisco, Google demoed its Android Wear platform and announced availability of the first Android Wear devices. First announced in March, Android Wear is designed to bring the Android platform to a range of wearable devices from several of Google's manufacturing partners.

android_wear_ui_io
As described on stage, Google has designed Android Wear with many of the features and functions that rumors have suggested Apple's own iWatch might include. Android Wear supports screens of multiple sizes and styles, including both square and circular. With its always-on display and card-based UI, it displays information like notifications and location-based reminders.

Largely controlled by voice via Google Now integration, Android Wear also supports contextual apps that display information at a glance and it also integrates with several sensors, such as those that monitor steps taken and even heart rate on supported devices. It includes Google Maps support, offering turn-by-turn directions on the wrist and it can be used to control other devices, such as speakers.

Android Wear devices are reliant on a connected smartphone, much like the iWatch is expected to be reliant on the iPhone. Apps that are downloaded from the Google Play Store are able to include a wearable portion, which is automatically installed on a compatible Android Wear device when downloaded on a smartphone, extending available app functionality to the wrist.

On stage, demonstrations of Android Wear gave a clear idea of what we might expect from other wearables in the future, including the iWatch. A Lyft car was ordered via a simple voice command, with the watch automatically detecting a location. Ordering the car, payment, and update notifications on the driver's location were all displayed directly on wrist, without the need to access a smartphone.

samsung_gear_live_io

Samsung Gear Live

Google announced the release of the full Android Wear SDK, along with the launch of the first devices supporting Android Wear. The LG G Watch is available for order today, as is the Samsung Gear Live, a new Samsung watch that supports Android. The platform's first circular watch taking advantage of the round UI, the Moto 360, will be available later this summer, and additional devices are in development by various partners.

By focusing on a platform rather than a device of its own, Google has managed to get Android onto wrists several months ahead of Apple. According to the most recent rumors, Apple's much-rumored smart watch won't launch until later this year, possibly at an October event. The iWatch expected to have a strong focus on health and fitness, with more than ten sensors to collect various types of data.

Top Rated Comments

Frankied22 Avatar
108 months ago
After watching the demo in I/O this is exactly what I hope the iWatch is not. I don't want a clunky 2.5" laggy touchscreen bombarding me with notifications and trying to shoehorn the smart watch experience onto a small screen.
Score: 53 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Skika Avatar
108 months ago
Been watching the Google I/O - They really have excelled themselves this year.

I hate to say it, but after watching the I/O, it makes it appear Apple take 1 step forward but then take 3 steps back.
Half the demos didnt work, lag in demos, flickering in videos, etc

The smoothest part was when they demoed something in iPhone 5 lel.
Score: 33 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Dave.UK Avatar
108 months ago
Been watching the Google I/O - They really have excelled themselves this year.

I hate to say it, but after watching the I/O, it makes it appear Apple take 1 step forward but then take 3 steps back.
Score: 29 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Cali Fornia Avatar
108 months ago
I am not hating, but this looks incredibly useless.
Those few sensors are also very limited in functionality.

I especially like how they always show pictures of such watches with unrealisticly short sentences displayed – just to make the UI look good and hide the scrolling necessity. I'll just tell my friends now to only message me 3 word sentences on facebook for maximum convenience!
Score: 22 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Ezhik Avatar
108 months ago
Been watching the Google I/O - They really have excelled themselves this year.

I hate to say it, but after watching the I/O, it makes it appear Apple take 1 step forward but 3 steps back.
Apple took 1 step forward, but then Google took 5.
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)
blackcrayon Avatar
108 months ago
Apple took 1 steps forward, but then Google took 5.

Looks like a solid presentation from Google, but I don't see how it exceeds Apple's WWDC. Google shows a lot more things at earlier stages of development- which makes it look like they're "doing more".
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

iphone 14 pro max vs 13 max 2

Camera Comparison: iPhone 14 Pro Max vs. iPhone 13 Pro Max

Thursday September 29, 2022 7:44 am PDT by
The iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max introduce some major improvements in camera technology, adding a 48-megapixel lens and low-light improvements across all lenses with the new Photonic Engine. We've spent the last week working on an in-depth comparison that pits the new iPhone 14 Pro Max against the prior-generation iPhone 13 Pro Max to see just how much better the iPhone 14 Pro Max can be. Subscrib ...
tony blevins car

Apple Procurement VP Departs Company After Vulgar TikTok Comment

Thursday September 29, 2022 12:38 pm PDT by
Tony Blevins, Apple's vice president of procurement, is set to depart the company after he made a crude comment about his profession in a recent TikTok video, reports Bloomberg. Blevins was in a video by TikTok creator Daniel Mac, who was doing a series on the jobs of people he spotted with expensive cars. After seeing Blevins in an expensive Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren, Mac asked Blevins what ...
Dark Sky App Featured

Dark Sky Removed From iOS App Store Ahead of Upcoming Shutdown

Wednesday September 28, 2022 4:27 pm PDT by
The Dark Sky weather app that's owned by Apple is no longer available for download in the U.S. App Store, suggesting that it has been removed ahead of schedule. Apple acquired Dark Sky back in March 2020 and has since incorporated elements of the app into the Weather app available on the iPhone (and soon, the iPad). Dark Sky remained available for purchase as a standalone weather app...
adaptive transparency airpods pro

iOS 16.1 Beta Brings Adaptive Transparency to Original AirPods Pro

Thursday September 29, 2022 1:08 pm PDT by
The third beta of iOS 16.1 that was released earlier this week expands the Adaptive Transparency feature introduced with the second-generation AirPods Pro to the original AirPods Pro. As noted on Reddit, first-generation AirPods Pro owners who also have the AirPods beta software will now see an "Adaptive Transparency" toggle in the AirPods section of the Settings app. The 5A304A beta...
tim cook malala

Tim Cook: Not Too Long From Now, You'll Wonder How You Led Your Life Without AR

Thursday September 29, 2022 7:26 am PDT by
Speaking at Università Degli Studi di Napoli Federico II in Naples, Italy, Apple CEO Tim Cook said that not too long from today, people will wonder how they led a life without augmented reality, stressing the "profound" impact it will have on the not so distant future. At the university, Cook was awarded an Honorary Degree in Innovation and International Management and also sat down for a...
iOS 16 Wallpaper Spectrum Feature

Five Wallpaper Apps to Check Out for iOS 16's New Lock Screen Depth Effect

Thursday September 29, 2022 9:08 am PDT by
One of the biggest new features in iOS 16 is a completely redesigned iPhone Lock Screen. The new Lock Screen is entirely customizable, letting you change the colors and fonts, add widgets and new wallpapers, and more to make your iPhone uniquely yours. Of course, even before iOS 16, you could customize your Lock Screen with a wallpaper of your choice. iOS 16 takes the Lock Screen wallpaper...
maxresdefault

Apple Responds to Video Testing Crash Detection Feature With Junkyard Vehicles

Friday September 30, 2022 9:11 am PDT by
The Wall Street Journal's Joanna Stern recently traveled to Michigan to test Apple's new crash detection feature on the iPhone 14 and Apple Watch Ultra. In response, Apple provided some additional information about how the feature works. Stern recruited Michael Barabe to crash his demolition derby car with a heavy-duty steel frame into two unoccupied vehicles parked in a junkyard — a 2003...
iphone 14 iphone 14 plus in hand feature

iPhone 14 Is Secretly Hiding a Beloved Mac Feature

Friday September 30, 2022 3:24 am PDT by
The iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro models bring over a longstanding Mac feature, but the setting to enable it is off by default. The feature, which is actually a new accessibility option, allows the iPhone to play a startup chime like the Mac. When enabled, the sound comes alongside a new shutdown chime. The Mac has featured a startup chime since 1987's Macintosh II, and the iconic "bong"...
Hero0005

Best Apple Deals of the Week: M2 MacBook Air Hits New All-Time Low Price at $1,049, Plus Sales on AirPods Pro and More

Friday September 30, 2022 9:05 am PDT by
This week's best Apple deals focus on the AirPods Pro, AirPods Pro 2, and M2 MacBook Air, including numerous all-time low prices on these devices. You'll also find up to 50 percent off discounts on Anker and Eufy accessories on Amazon. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us...
iPhone 15 to Switch From Lightning to USB C in 2023 feature sans arrow

Kuo: iPhone 14 Pro Max Popularity Could Lead to More Differentiation Between iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max

Wednesday September 28, 2022 10:22 am PDT by
Apple has seen high demand for the 6.7-inch iPhone 14 Pro Max, which could lead the company to further differentiate the next-generation iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max, according to Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Apple could add exclusive features to the iPhone 15 Pro Max in an effort to encourage more people to purchase the larger and more expensive device. Kuo last week said that Apple asked...