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Google Announces Android Wear platform for Smartwatches and Wearables

We can no longer overlook the emergence of smartwatches and wearable tech, and Google isn’t either.  In a developing story, Google has today announced a Smartwatch and Wearables platform called Android Wear that it expects to help OEM partners design and make hardware that will be more useful for users.  LG’s G Watch smartwatch, which some people believe could be the backbone of Google’s own smartwatch, will be the first device based on the platform when it launches in the second quarter of 2014.

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The new platform showcases the core features of the smaller branch of Android including Google Now’s always on voice commands activated with “OK Google” and is not just for smartwatches as Google seemingly wants to cover all wearable devices in the platform, including those whose hardware will launch sometime later this year.

Google says that the platform is meant to be an extension of Google Now and some of its notable features include the “OK Google” voice prompt, timely updates, suggestions to users and answering spoken questions directly.  As of now, Google expects devices on this platform to answer questions pertaining to flights, reservations, text messages, placing calls, time and depending on hardware, other questions like temperature and humidity.

Just as you may have suspected, Google will mainly focus on making the wearable devices closer to the user than any other gadgets in existence.  Smartwatches now are used in physical fitness, time management and productivity, health and other factors and the platform looks to expand the application of these features and add more including progress tracking in fitness, real-time feedback and have room for applications that can push the limits of these devices.

When the smartwatch platform finally comes alive, Google says we should expect it to bring multi-screen controls to enable users to control other devices by issuing commands to the wearable device which then uses installed apps to control connected devices.  Although there was a mention of the platform supporting “Cast”, we don’t know whether the Chromecast will remain independent or it will just be compatible.

Since Google and LG partnered to make Nexus 5 smartphone, the two have been great buddies and the new platform with the G watch may have an advantage over its many competitors including Samsung’s Tizen watch.  There is a preview SDK available if you are an Android developer interested in the platform interested in building extensions to your Android apps for the wearables.  The good thing is, you will not need to build a standalone app and some of the top manufacturers including Samsung, Motorola, HTC, Fossil, Asus and more are in.

This is a developing story, we will update you when more information is available.

via engadget.com