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Google said it will make its initial push in smartwatches, but that Android Wear won't end there.
"We're just getting started. The possibilities with devices that you wear on your body are endless," Android Director of Engineering David Singleton said in a preview video released along with the announcement.
Here are the features of the Android Wear smartwatch that have us so excited about Google's latest wearable tech...
How Google's "Android Wear" Works
Google's Android Wear smartwatches are centered on voice control and contextual information that's highly reactive to the user's surroundings, making the device quick and intuitive enough so it's actually useful to the wearer.
"We put a lot of thought into how simple this has to be - it needs to be incredibly fast and incredibly glanceable," Android Designer Alex Faaborg said. "There's really only two components: the information that's most relevant to you, and the ability to speak to it and do a quick command."
Users can, of course, glance at the watch for time and weather. A flick of the finger will reveal the latest sports scores, the time of your next meeting, and how long it will take to travel there from your current location.
Text messages and emails will appear right on the watch's face, and the user can verbally respond and direct the smartwatch to reply. The wearer can ask for nearby restaurant recommendations, media play, or GPS driving directions to the airport.
The interface is designed to be extremely responsive, delivering information quickly; the voice recognition, which initiates on the command, "OK Google," seems impressively accurate in the preview video.
As far as aesthetics, Google said its Android Wear smartwatch will be available in several styles, shapes, and sizes. It's working with consumer electronics manufacturers Asus, HTC, Motorola, LG, Samsung, and fashion brands like watchmaker Fossil Group Inc. (Nasdaq: FOSL). It's additionally working with chip makers Broadcom Corp. (Nasdaq: BRCM), Imagination Technologies Group Plc (LON: IMG), Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC), MediaTek, and Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM).
The first Google-powered smartwatch will be available starting this summer, when Motorola launches its "Moto 360." In Q2 2014, LG said it will also be introducing its Android-based smart "G Watch."
The best part about Android-powered wearables is that Google is doing something different from industry competitors that ensures the company will end up on top...