Google has entered the smartwatch arena, unveiling its Android Wear project and announcing it will be working with Fossil Group to develop fashion smartwatches.
The Android Wear devices, the first of which are available in a standard smartwatch rectangular design as well as a rather elegant round case, were unveiled to Android software developers to launch a programme of app development and integration with the new technology.
Greg McKelvey, chief strategy and marketing officer for Fossil Group, commented: “We believe we are uniquely positioned to develop and bring to market products for our fashion customers that marry the beauty of our designs, the promise of our brands and now the function of new technology. “Although still very much in the formative research and development stage, we are committed to playing an active role in the push toward wearable technology and helping to shape the fusion of fashion and technology.”
The Android wear devices will run a special version of Android, feature a touchscreen and voice recognition technology that will allow them to answer questions and process requests such as booking a taxi or making a restaurant reservation.
Google’s Sundar Pichai, senior vice president of Android, Chrome and Apps, claims its Wear devices will be able to understand to world around you.
He said: “We’re only at the beginning; we’ve barely scratched the surface of what’s possible with mobile technology. That’s why we’re so excited about wearables—they understand the context of the world around you, and you can interact with them simply and efficiently, with just a glance or a spoken word.”
Android Wear will see a complete range of wearable devices from Google, with the smartwatches merely being the first in the range.
Developers were told that the Google smartwatches will display the information and suggestions that its wearer might need at a particular moment without prompting and based on location, time and user history.
Voice recognition and sophisticated software also means Android Wear will be able to answer direct questions and complete tasks by using the phrase “Ok Google”.
Android Wear will also monitor your health and fitness and support fitness apps by logging speed, distance and timing and will also be able to control other linked devices.
Pichai added: “We’re also already working with several consumer electronics manufacturers, including Asus, HTC, LG, Motorola and Samsung; chip makers Broadcom, Imagination, Intel, Mediatek and Qualcomm; and fashion brands like the Fossil Group to bring you watches powered by Android Wear later this year.”
Google are the latest company to beat Apple to the smartwatch punch with Samsung’s second generation Gear unveiled last month and a number of manufacturers releasing other devices.