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Google Unveils Android Wear 103

Posted by Soulskill
from the you-put-android-where? dept.
mrspoonsi tips news that Google has announced 'Android Wear,' their effort to bring the Android mobile operating system to wearable devices. Android Wear provides an interface to control other devices through a smartwatch, adds support for Google Now's voice commands, and lets wearables integrate with various apps. Google has made a developer preview available for download immediately. Google's Motorola division concurrently announced a smartwatch that's powered by Android Wear called the Moto 360. LG announced one as well.

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Google Unveils Android Wear

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  • by alen (225700) on Tuesday March 18, 2014 @03:39PM (#46518839)

    other than tell me the weather that i can already do by looking outside or checking my phone in the morning

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 18, 2014 @03:41PM (#46518871)
      You can also load an app that will make fart noises.
      • You can also load an app that will make fart noises.

        Holy cow, that triggered a brilliant idea. Smart Underwear with a built in speaker, to emit the fart noises from! You could even have an advanced version with a Smell Emitter!

        Or I guess I could just eat Taco Bell.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 18, 2014 @03:46PM (#46518923)

      Monitors how often you masturbate so Google can send you targeted adds for lotion and corrective lenses.

    • other than tell me the weather that i can already do by looking outside or checking my phone in the morning

      Tell you the weather, what a movie is, all kinds of neat stuff, for one.

      The voice search, I have had it on my MyTouch cell phone for a few years, and on my Motorola Xoom tablet, it's an Android staple.

      This weekend an example, the wind kicked up harder than normal so I "weather (my zip code)" to my tablet and saw that rain and a bit of it was headed our way. I was asked what a movie on a CD/DVD was I "movie legend" to the tablet and saw Tim Curry was in it (Rocky Horror Picture Show).

      First though I tell an

      • by alen (225700) on Tuesday March 18, 2014 @04:07PM (#46519097)

        OMG, how did we do these things before

        • In my days, we had to look outside to know the weather, walk to the phone tied to the wall and turn a mechanical wheel multiple times to call someone and wait for the movies to play on the television and we had to wait for ads during the movie to sprint to the bathroom when we needed to.

          Now I don't even bother going outside, I get the weather status via the Internet, talk to people via the Internet and watch movies via the Internet. All from a windowless room. I'm sad.

          • Now I don't even bother going outside, I get the weather status via the Internet, talk to people via the Internet and watch movies via the Internet. All from a windowless room. I'm sad.

            LOL

      • other than tell me the weather that i can already do by looking outside or checking my phone in the morning

        Tell you the weather, what a movie is, all kinds of neat stuff, for one.

        The voice search, I have had it on my MyTouch cell phone for a few years, and on my Motorola Xoom tablet, it's an Android staple.

        A user has moderated your comment "Overrated" (-1).

        I laugh out loud at your rating.

        Prelude. I have a (new) G19 keyboard that quit working ($$$$), to get it back together where all the keys work, I need the face plate supported with no keys being pressed.
        ----

        Today I cut out a plastic template, staple the template to the face of a box then spray painted it black - I'll remove the plastic later leaving the areas that need to be removed.

        Just to be sure I said phone, tell me the weather for my zip code. It's sai

    • Apparently, display fake pictures & videos.

      • Yes, the screen images are "simulated", but what of it? Have you seen mobile phone screens of the past 18 months? You couldn't pick out individual pixels without a jewelers' loupe. There's no reason to believe that the screen wouldn't be as good quality as the "simulation" suggests.
    • by timeOday (582209)
      What does a smartphone do that a laptop cannot do? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Quite a bit less, in fact.

      As miniaturization proceeded past simply being portable (laptops), it has become all about convenience instead - saving a few seconds at a time. So, does saving a few seconds on something you could do with a smartphone matter at all? Well, it does, if there's anything you want to do 3,500 times per month [bgr.com].

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        What does a smartphone do that a laptop cannot do?

        Fit in my pocket.

        • What does a watch do that a smartphone cannot do?

          Fit on your wrist.

          • Fit on your wrist.

            To be the difference in utility is much less between the phone/watch case than the laptop/phone case... with the laptop I cannot always have it with me in the way I can with a phone. With a phone and a watch, the line is a lot blurrier - I can always have either with me. I even can have either of them mostly visible (note how many people set out a phone on a table when they sit down). So a smart-wtach vs. a phone is about slight differences in convenience of access, more than massive av

            • What can you do with an iPad/tablet that you can't do with a smartphone/laptop?

              • What can you do with an iPad/tablet that you can't do with a smartphone/laptop?

                Actually draw well with just the device.

                But you have a great point that there's not really a huge distinction between them, which is why for lots of people tablets are slowly replacing laptops.

                • But you have a great point that there's not really a huge distinction between them, which is why for lots of consumers tablets are slowly replacing laptops.

                  Right tool for the job, guys. A tablet is a consumption device, not a creation device. I wouldn't dare try replacing my mate's laptop as his coding machine with a tablet, and you can pry the keyboard and mouse interface on my gaming machine from my cold, dead, claw-like hands.

                  • Right tool for the job, guys. A tablet is a consumption device, not a creation device.

                    That argument has been dead since the introduction of the WINDOWS tablets, where Penny Arcade was drawing comics upon.

                    Come on.

                    Not to mention there are a LOT of people doing serious writing on tablets these days with specialized software and external keyboards.

                    One could even argue that with fewer things on screen at once a tablet offers a more distraction free creation environment than a laptop.

                    • A tablet with a keyboard is a "laptop", or more accurately a netbook. The addition of the peripheral device changes the form factor; A tablet is purely touch oriented; That's what differentiates it from other small computing devices. Yes, you can add a keyboard, mouse, and an external monitor over an HMDI link, but why would you? That's a laptop by any other name!
          • Who says you can't strap a smartphone to your wrist? Sure, people will look at you funny, but it's not as bad as wearing Google Glass (for example). It'd be like that thing Leela wears in Futurama...

    • I think the "wear" in the title highlights the main feature: you can wear it. While that sounds stupid, ask yourself what your smartphone can do that you can't already do with your computer.
    • You could also look out the window. That's the other thing on the wall that looks like a monitor, only it's 3D.
      • My company just gave me a second monitor instead.
      • by exomondo (1725132)

        You could also look out the window.

        That's hardly a forecast though. What is the point of the weather channel if you can just look out the window?

      • We call that "AFK", and I hear it doesn't have Netflix. It sounds like a desolate wasteland to me.
    • Well, your phone's OS can be forked.

      This can't.

    • by J-1000 (869558)

      I don't even wear a dumb watch, so this is probably not for me, but...

      • - It could display incoming text messages
      • - It could allow you to mute your phone without taking it out, unlocking it, etc. (handy for meetings)
      • - It could allow quick access to Google Now voice commands
      • - It's probably great for GPS navigation while on foot or on a bike
      • - It could play/pause/skip music tracks
      • - It could initiate speakerphone and/or Bluetooth calls

      These are all just assumptions. I have no idea what features this thing really

    • other than tell me the weather that i can already do by looking outside or checking my phone in the morning

      Was this a serious question? It tells you the time (that's the watch bit) and it displays notifications and information (that's the smart bit), all without you having to dig your phone out of your pocket/bag and unlock it. Presumably the intended market is executives in meetings -- something like this allows you to remain connected far more discretely than playing with your phone. (Although FWIW having a feed of a hyperlocal weather source such as forecast.io would also be significantly more useful than

    • by Jmc23 (2353706)
      Some of us don't have windows you insensitve clod!
  • by the_skywise (189793) on Tuesday March 18, 2014 @03:45PM (#46518915)

    Nike self-lacing shoes?
    Self-dry coats?

  • by jchawk (127686) on Tuesday March 18, 2014 @03:48PM (#46518941) Homepage Journal

    The ultimate form of birth control. This revolutionary clothing will ensure that no girls will come within 50 yards of you.

    • And those who do will be risk of contracting Android malware from your underwear.
    • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

      Take a look at Adafruit. Wearable tech seems to be very popular with the girls.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I think Motorola's one looks pretty nice. And if it is displaying a traditional style watch face probably won't look any different from a regular watch at a glance.

  • by Opportunist (166417) on Tuesday March 18, 2014 @03:49PM (#46518951)

    As long as this is just an Android accessory it's not what I want. Now wearable computer, that would be interesting, but this sounds more like some Android gadgets than a wearable computer.

    • I expect it'll be just as successful as Google Glass. In other words a flop, just like all the other "smart watches" before it.

      • by noh8rz10 (2716597)

        it's funny that everybody heard that apple was making an iwatch so everybody rushed their own into production now when apple releases their product it will be late to the market!

        • It'll be even funnier if Apple don't release a smartwatch. The lemmings will have rushed in and failed for nothing.

          • by noh8rz10 (2716597)

            it could be they're waiting for screen/battery technology to mature. if everyone else rushes to market with watches with CRT screens and lead acid batteries, maybe they're waiting for the LCDs and lithium ions.

    • Why would you want to duplicate all of the processing power that your phone already has?

      • Because then I could replace my phone with this? Instead of carrying it in my pocket I'd carry it by wearing it, instantly readying it whenever I could possibly need it. And considering the things our (smart)phones do for us during our mobility hours, that would make a lot more sense than carrying it in the pocket. You could not only instantly and without interrupting what you're doing participate in remote communication, you also have your calender and a local map right in front of your eye without any kin

    • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

      Having it linked to your smartphone means it gets full internet access without the need for an additional SIM or power sapping wifi.

      • And putting smartphone capability on a wearable means the same. But maybe it's only to me more logical to put one app (phone) onto a wearable tool than to cram everything the wearable is supposed to do into a phone and then attach a wearable periphery...

    • by Zebedeu (739988)

      Now wearable computer, that would be interesting, but this sounds more like some Android gadgets than a wearable computer.

      If you already have an Android phone you already take everywhere, then it makes more sense.
      An independent device would certainly be more useful, but that would greatly increase cost and size, and increase battery drain. And most of that would just be replicating things your smartphone already does.
      Given the hardware constraints, it seems that this method is a decent compromise, at least for a first-generation device.

      Personally I think the round version from Motorola looks good enough that I'd consider weari

  • This means apps won't risk showing important information in the corners of the square watches.

    • by CastrTroy (595695)
      If you give the programmer the ability to detect whether or not the screen is round, then the app could change appearance depending on whether the corners were visible or not.
    • This means apps won't risk showing important information in the corners of the square watches.

      Not a bad thing if it pushes manufacturers away from the fugly square smartwatch screens, but it'll be interesting to see how they're handled in the software. And to be fair, important things like message text will wrap in the space available just fine, whether that's round or square.

  • by hessian (467078) on Tuesday March 18, 2014 @03:55PM (#46518997) Homepage Journal

    Wearables are great. You can check Facebook, tweet on Twitter, chat with friends via SnapChat, all from the comfort of your own pants.

    It's basically like being at home in front of the computer except that you're not. Since no one else has any ideas, we can call this "progress."

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Funny now they are copying Apple Rumors like Samsung!!!!......lol

  • ...guess I've been watching to many conspiracy videos.
  • ...that just does like cool patterns and crap and looks cool. Assuming it was cheap.

    But I don't need another way for someone to message me, or to check the weather (though possibly those things would be cool if they worked without a phone).

    And there's other problems that really sound lame. I'd hate having to charge my watch every night.

    I know a couple people who ordered Pebble watches. I haven't seen anyone who wears one regularly.

    • by j2.718ff (2441884)

      I know a couple people who ordered Pebble watches. I haven't seen anyone who wears one regularly.

      I own a pebble, and wear it every day. I love it for notifications -- I can tell who's calling/texting/e-mailing me, and thus decide if I feel like taking my phone out to interact with them.

      But I would never use it to initiate anything. If I want to check the weather, place a call, do a google search, etc., then I'll use my phone -- no matter how good a watch's resolution is, it's just too small to do those things effectively.

      • by Paco103 (758133)

        I wear mine daily. It has the time on the top 3rd (big enough, because the e-Paper is actually much easier to read even in daylight than my old LCD watches), my next to appointments in the middle, and the weather on the bottom 3rd. And yes, I can just look outside for the weather, but in the areas of the US where it can be 20 in the morning and 70 in the afternoon, looking doesn't solve everything.

    • And there's other problems that really sound lame. I'd hate having to charge my watch every night.

      Have you actually seen battery life estimates for the Moto360? I really hope it's not a charge-once-a-night scenario ...

      I know a couple people who ordered Pebble watches. I haven't seen anyone who wears one regularly.

      I have, and it's not pretty. I've got higher hopes for this Moto watch -- at least it's actually stylish.

      • Is charging once a night a problem? I'm over my all-night clubbing days; I rarely spend more than 24 hours away from an electrical socket. If I do, it's typically by choice (Camping / rambling holiday, for example) and I've every intention of staying incommunicado for the entire trip. That's half of the point of doing it.

        I have USB ports, and therefore charging of my various devices, next to my bedside (Wall wart), my home PC, work PC, the stereo on the kitchen, the back of my home router, my TV, even my c
  • That's it. Just the subject. Wait...Apple could use that if they ever come out with an iWatch.
  • I hope at least some of these are AMOLED or something similar so that the watch face can display the time and missed notifications, all the time. Not just when I press a button, at which point I'm half-way to just grabbing a phone in my pocket.

    • by Paco103 (758133)

      I don't know about the others, but the Pebble is on all the time. It is ePaper, black and white only (no grey). It's on all the time, which I agree is absolutely a requirement. I know a guy with a sony smartwatch too, and it's always on, but seems to have more of an issue in sunlight from what he's described. "Oh yeah, it's great, I can see it in the sun. I just sometimes have to tilt it a certain way and shade it." (For the record, I have not seen it outdoors.) It is nice looking though and full col

  • by MugenEJ8 (1788490) on Tuesday March 18, 2014 @05:29PM (#46519679)

    I've had a wearable for 4mo now and because I ride a motorcycle, it has become priceless during my commutes. I can flip tracks; I can see who's calling or messaging me and then I can answer to listen to what that person has to say.

    I couldn't see riding without it...

    • by shellbeach (610559) on Tuesday March 18, 2014 @06:14PM (#46519983)

      I couldn't see riding without it...

      ... ah yes, but can you see the road, riding with it?? :P

      In all seriousness, when did /. become so goddamn conservative? I can't believe how dismissive people are of wearables around here ...

      • by mjwx (966435)

        I couldn't see riding without it...

        ... ah yes, but can you see the road, riding with it?? :P

        He's on a murdercycle making it a self correcting problem. If he's too busy paying attention to his phone to watch the road, someone will be getting a new heart, lung and kidney kidney in short order.

        • by MugenEJ8 (1788490)

          I couldn't see riding without it...

          ... ah yes, but can you see the road, riding with it?? :P

          He's on a murdercycle making it a self correcting problem. If he's too busy paying attention to his phone to watch the road, someone will be getting a new heart, lung and kidney kidney in short order.

          I'm ten times the motorist you are sir. Zero accidents @ 57k miles driven on a motorcycle, one accident in a cage when I was 17 which was 16 years ago. Do you chastise all motorists that check their watch while they drive? Or just the ones that prove a good point...

    • by fermion (181285)
      wearables are potentially very nice. Samsung has one, and when one talks android, one is still talking Samsung. Apple may or may not have one, but it won't be Android, obviously. So we are talking HTC and Motorola, neither or which are profitable. HTC marketshare is falling, and Lenova has not made mobile devices.
  • I have a Pebble. It lasts ~7 days with my usual watch face, and much less time if I use a weather-fetching one. I can put up with this... I switch to the weather when I'm curious, and leave it on the main one otherwise.

    However, I can't imagine that a full-color touchscreen with a microphone in a form-factor smaller than a Pebble is going to last you even 8 hours.

    I look forward to Android Wear details.

    • by Rich0 (548339)

      I tend to agree. I wonder if this will be like the LED watches of yore where you pushed a button to display the time. I'm not convinced I'd be happy with that. I want to happen to catch my watch out of the corner of my eye and get situational awareness on time (which is why I like analog-style hands). I don't want checking the time to become a conscious action.

      If it lasts a few days at least and has Qi charging I could probably live with it. Still, we're getting towards a point where I'm going to feel

      • by Jmc23 (2353706)
        trainable proximity sensor/accel.etc.. to turn on the screen/backlight?

        But of course that would make to much sense.

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