Android Wear: Google Shows the Way

After having invaded the vast majority of smartphones, Android is tackling dress computing. First target of the Green robot: watches, on which many manufacturers were broken teeth wanting to add connected functions. Name of plan of attack: Android Wear. Is more Android in his hand, with the risk to escape, we wear now, hung to his wrist. What Google have to offer so that it is accepted to arm the body?

“What’s OK Google, Android Wear?

Android Wear meets a problem: Android isn’t yet everywhere. In his presentation ticket, Sundar Pichai announced that smartphones are just the beginning of the mobile revolution and that the next ‘next big thing’ is dress computing, i.e. connected devices on itself. “They understand your environment, and you can interact with simply and quickly, with a single glance or a word”explains the boss of Android who forget a little fast as the very smart Moto X is able to do the same.

The downside of the Moto X, from the point of view of Google, it’s is not always close to its owner, while a watch, we never leaves or almost. But could make Android in a small dial? Sundar Pichai list four functions:

  • Useful information when you need it most. Android Wear shows you the info and suggestions you need, where need you them. […]
  • The answers to the oral questions. Say just “OK Google” to ask questions, such as the number of calories in a lawyer, what time your flight leaves, and the outcome of a match. […]
  • The ability to better monitor your health and fitness. Make your sports training with reminders and reports from Android Wear. […]
  • Your key on a multiscreen world. Android Wear allows you to access and control other devices of your wrist…

At first glance, Google offers nothing new. This list is even identical to the features of the Galaxy Gear put forward by Samsung (read: Galaxy Gear, still a watch which delays). Galaxy Gear displays notifications, responds to the voice through S Voice, sharing its activity with fitness apps data and is able to interact with a smartphone, to take a call, for example. The South Korean watch in fact even more since it is equipped with a camera. Despite all this and a big marketing campaign, the Galaxy Gear made an oven. The last digit that Samsung has provided is 800 000 units shipped, and therefore not necessarily all sold. Since this figure dating back to November, two new versions have already been presented.

Android Wear is not a rehash of already connected watches on the market, and this, for two reasons. The first is that it is not a watch strictly speaking, but an operating system. Manufacturers advanced so far in a messy row, each going his interpretation of Android that caused a hardware and software ecosystem fragmentation.

With Android Wear, Google whistles the end of recess. The Mountain View company is positioned as a leader, with behind her followers technology partners (Motorola, Qualcomm, Samsung, LG, HTC, Intel,…), but also a first collaborator of the fashion world, Fossil. To all his comrades, Google offers a software solution that can make better use of the existing Android terminals that their crafts. They then make a camera around this system. The advantage is that we won’t have to ask “if I buy this Samsung watch, I could use with my HTC phone?”, we’ll buy a watch powered by Android Wear that will work with any mobile to the Green robot.

Google Wear

The other reason that makes Android so different, Wear of the existing connected watch, is that the software has been designed by and for Google. The Sony SmartWatch displays notifications? Android Wear presents pop-upnotifications. S Voice allows you to send a message? Google Now responds to complex issues. The main difference is there. Placed in the heart of the digital life of the user, Google is able to provide relevant information like no other company.

By picking data in each service, Mountain View manages to build a comprehensive profile of the user. Gmail shows reservations, Google Maps location, YouTube centres of interest, Hangouts contacts… No need to ask Google the result of his favorite football club, Google Now, which synthesizes all these information, automatically sends a notification at the end of the match.

The giant NET heavily emphasizes this function in his video presentation of Android Wear, and it would be wrong to miss. Who else but him is now able to send a notification at the right time to warn that it will take 30 minutes instead of 15 to go to work because of an accident on the road? And this is just one example among many others.

The main function of Android Wear, “of the relevant information when you need it”, merges with that of Google Now, “automatically receive useful information throughout the day.” Android Wear is badly named, Google (Now) Wear would have been fairer.

This does mean that Android apps won’t play an important role in these watches. The APIs will allow third-party developers to do interesting things. The application of delayed reading Pocket gave a good example : with a swipe of a finger on the dial we can save an article sent by a friend.

If Google Wear is more accurate than Android Wear, it’s because the opening that characterized Android reduces shrinking. Android Wear will be paid in AOSP, the open part Android source? The company does not. Manufacturers will be able to realize a watch Android Wear without Google Now? That seems unlikely as the personal assistant is part of the concept. Not to mention that Google imposes more services to its partners, directly or through diverted ways (read: how Google is trying to regain control of Android and Android: the conditions imposed by Google manufacturers revealed )).

Even if it makes squealing teeth in Mountain View, in a smartphone, Samsung can fit his house next to the imposed Play Google apps services without penalty. On a watch dial, it’s more complicated.

To see the bike 360, Motorola watch who has made an impression by choosing to emulate a traditional model, Google could leave some latitude to the manufacturers at the interface level. The screen of the device will simulate actually the needles, an element that is not part of the base of Android Wear interface. At best, the Mountain View company could allow builders to offer customized home screens. But it is an illusion to believe that she will offer a lot more margin for manoeuvre. She any better that Google Now to get together at the wrists always more about its users… and display advertising to a new medium.

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