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Google unveils Android Wear at I/O 2014

Android Wear
Google

While the Android L took much of the praise with it’s release at the Google I/O conference on Wednesday June 25th, 2014, Android Wear also became a key component of the event.

Google unveiled smart watches running its near Android Wear software, including the LG G Watch, Moto 360 and Samsung Gear Live.

Google Director of Engineering, David Singleton, says, “We’re right at the beginning of a new phase of the miniaturization of technology, which means it’s finally possible to make a small computer that can fit comfortably on your body all day long.”

Singleton also addressed the features, saying some Android Wear models will feature pedometers and even heart-rate monitors. The new software will also let consumers use voice commands to save important information and easily access it later on. You can also control music playback. The LG G watch includes a display that switches from black and white to color when you interact with it.

Essentially, Singleton maintains, “The watch will act as your key in a multiscreen world.”

A real strength of Android Wear comes when it is paired with third-party apps. After the wearer installs apps on the device with their Android smartphone, the apps will then automatically update on their watch.

One of the highlights demonstrated by Google, on Wednesday, included the Eat24 app. It allows you to use your watch to easily order a pizza. Also of note was the Lyft app, which allows users to call for a ride without touching their phone. In addition, Android Wear works with both Android TV platforms and Android Auto for voice commands and controls. In a sense, Android Wear allows wearers to control not only screens, but also even household appliances.

Other notable features include the feature allowing phone notifications appearing like pages that you can swipe through. You can not only swipe away notifications, but also get additional details. This could be helpful for items like your flight’s boarding pass, restaurant reservation or bus schedule, wiping out the need and time it takes to pull it up on your phone. You can also use voice command to reply to messages and get specific directions.

Acting with your smartphone, Android Wear allows you to avoid using a pin number to unlock your phone when the two are close together. One feature noticeably absent from the announcement on Wednesday, though, concerns battery life. There is no word, yet, on how these new features will affect your device’s battery.

At $199 for Samsung Gear Live and $299 for the LG watch, both can be preordered from the Google Play Store immediately, with delivery July 7th. The Motorola watch will officially launch sometime later this summer.

Google has been in a sort of race for wearables with competitors, such as Apple, which is expected to launch a smartwatch later in 2014. Google, though, has been working on Android Wear since its unveil in March. Developers have been able to access the preview developer kit since them. They can now download the full developer tools.