Android Wear was first announced this past March, but at this year’s Google I/O, Google Engineering Director David Singleton gave the first in-depth look at Google’s official foray into the wearables market outside of Glass. This year’s I/O marked a departure from the expectations of many Glass fans, with no mention of the hotly discussed glasses, leaving more room for Google to venture principally into smartwatches. Android Wear will feature a host of capabilities for developers to work with, but the main draw Google wants for consumers to take away is that interacting with their smartphones just became a lot simpler.
Android Wear focuses on mainly two items, actions and streams. Actions will mostly be utilized through voice-commands similar to those on Glass, “Ok Google,” and can be used for a variety of different interactions such as replying to a message, controlling the music on your Android phone, or getting directions. Streams on the device serve to simplify how we interact with our phones by delivering notifications from the phone straight to the wearables device, and presenting them like a stack of cards that the user can flip through. Once the notification has been swiped away, it will be removed from the phone. Additionally, notifications will build a context around the user, using location, calendars and other applications to prioritize when and where certain notifications are important.
The software will run on both square and circle face displays, with companies already competing to get their own hardware for Android Wear, such as the first entries from Samsung and LG available now, and Motorola’s Moto 360 coming later this summer.