Google Gives Wearable Tech a Try with 'Android Wear' OS

Paul Lilly

A modifed Android UI for wearable devices

If you thought the wearable computing craze was going to simmer down anytime soon, think again. Google is throwing its weight and resources behind the wearable computing movement by announcing Android Wear , a modified version of the company's open source operating system. Android Wear extends Android into wearables starting with the obvious -- smart watches -- though Google has more in mind than being able to tell time and fire off text messages.

To kick things off, Google has made available a Developer Preview that allows developers to tailor their existing app notifications for watches powered by Android Wear. In addition, Google is working with a bunch of consumer electronic players (Asus, HTC, LG, Motorola, and Samsung), chip makers (Broadcom, Imagination, Intel, Mediatek, and Qualcomm), and fashion brands (Fossil Group) to spur more smart watch designs.

A big part of Android Wear is voice control. Commands begin with "Okay Google" followed by things like, "call a taxi" or "open my garage." You can also monitor your health and fitness with features like real-time speed, distance, and time information as you run, cycle, or walk.

"We're always seeking new ways for technology to help people live their lives and this is just another step in that journey. Here’s to getting the most out of the many screens you use every day—whether in your car, in your pocket or, very soon, on your wrist," Google stated in a blog post.

Smart watches aren't exactly flying off of store shelves, though Google obviously feels it can bring some fashion, usability, and even credibility to the sector.

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