Daily Dose of iQ: Google Announces 'Android Wear' Platform for Wearable Devices

Mar 18, 2014 — Allan Pulga

Today, Google unveiled an official marketing campaign for its new smartwatch SDK (which we blogged about last week), called Android Wear. The concept is demonstrated in the video below.

Soon after the Android Wear news came out, Motorola announced the moto 360 smartwatch, "powered by Android Wear" and expected for release this summer. The watch in the video appears to be a moto 360.

I sat down with a couple of my colleagues -- Interaction Designer Min Choi and UX Architect/BA Collin Prior -- to get their reactions to the video and Android Wear concept as a whole.

Having watched the video, what about the demo excites you the most and why?

Min: Using voice commands on a smartwatch with “OK Google” is definitely an exciting feature that I'd feel more comfortable trying out in public than talking to glasses (Google Glass with "OK Glass").

I’ve seen the “commercial" version of the demo video, and if it actually works as I expect it to. It seems like the watch has messages and apps automatically pop up/open depending on your location and actions (motion sensor).

I love the thought of having a location-aware and context-aware watch.

I love the thought of having a high-tech watch with features that are location-aware, and even “environment-aware” (context-aware). In the other Android Wear promo vid, when the girls are dancing to a song while in line, the watch detects motion from the user and searches for the song that is playing. Definitely a better replacement for SoundHound or Shazam for me; I would expect Google to have a bigger music database.

Collin: I'm most impressed by the contextual UI and how it can fit into a variety of shapes and styles of watch. For me, the watch would be most useful for getting contextual alerts like text messages or alarms for a meeting, etc.  I would love to see on my wrist who is messaging me rather than reaching in my pocket to get my phone. This could be useful when you're on the go or when your hands are full.

Both of you mentioned a desire to have a watch like this. In a general sense, how would a watch like this provide value to you on an everyday use basis?

Min: Like mentioned above, those small everyday uses of individual apps would be replaced by a "super watch" that automatically launches an app/feature that I would have to find in my applications folder in my phone and wait for it to launch and then search for the song that has just ended.

Health tracking is a cool feature that I would love to have, to track my sleeping patterns as I would like to have a more consistent one and also keep track of my physical activities (like the Nike+ running app).

The real power comes from pairing the watch with a phone. Your phone can do the processing; the watch can be the display.

Collin: I think the watch would provide value in my every day life by augmenting the experience I already have on my smartphone. Letting me know when meetings are or when I get a text, what the weather is like outside, reminders, etc. I think the real power comes from pairing the watch with a phone. Your phone can do the processing and the watch can just be the display.

The message of this video seems to be “The sky’s the limit for Android wearable developers.” What are some ‘wish list’ applications you would like to see at some point?

Min: I’m not sure if battery was mentioned anywhere, but wireless charging would be convenient. It would be annoying if I had to take off my watch to charge it in the middle of the day. Other than that, I’m already pretty excited with what they showed so far -- I would just love to get my hands on one of these.

Battery life should be a primary consideration for Android Wear devices.

Collin: I actually don’t think that there are a tremendous amount of apps that should run on this device. I think it's our responsibility as software developers to not just do anything possible but to do things that make sense. Although you could play angry birds on the smartwatch I am not sure you should.  

I agree with Min: I think battery life and preserving battery life will be a big thing. The watch should not be large and it is not something that you would easily plug in during the day. You wear a watch morning to night. For this reason, things should be very low power in comparison to a smartphone.

Topics: Retail Operations, Wireless Trends, Mobile Industry, Nike, Internet of Things

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