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Google Announces ‘Android Wear,’ a New Operating System for Smartwatches

Jason O. Gilbert
Technology Editor
Yahoo Tech
March 18, 2014

Google Announces ‘Android Wear,’ a New Operating System for Smartwatches

Jason O. Gilbert
Technology Editor
Yahoo Tech
March 18, 2014

Google already has devices for your head (Google Glass) and your pocket (hundreds of smartphones running Android). Now the tech giant is coming after your wrist, too. Watch out, Rolex. 

In a blog post on Tuesday, Google executive Sundar Pichai introduced Android Wear, a new operating system for wearable technology like smartwatches. Like Android for smartphones and tablets, other companies will be able to use Android Wear on their own devices, creating smartwatches and other wearable gadgets based on the operating system.

Google says it is already working with companies like LG, Motorola, and Samsung on devices that use Android Wear. LG also announced on Tuesday that its first Android Wear smartwatch—called the G Watch—would launch in the coming months. And just as you now have several options for Android smartphones and tablets now, you should expect an increase in available smartwatches running Android in the next year or two. 

From the looks of a promotional video (below), Android Wear will focus primarily on delivering location-aware information to your wrist. The video shows watch-wearers receiving messages, travel information, and mapping data. According to Pichai, you will also be able to ask your watch questions by talking to it, and some watches will be able to track your steps and other fitness data.

Keep in mind that all the screen images here are simulated, so we’re still not sure exactly what Android Wear will actually look like. 

The information is similar to that delivered by Google Now, a personal assistant app that has been called Google’s Siri competitor.

Google isn’t the only company betting that we’ll want to wear our smart devices in the future. Smartwatches were all over the show floor at Mobile World Congress, a conference that’s often seen as a bellwether for the next year in technology. Samsung, Sony, and Huawei have all introduced new smartwatches recently, and Apple is rumored to be working on an iWatch, perhaps for a release later this year. 

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