Google’s Android Wear is an insanely late technology?

Android wear is touted as a new generation platform for wearables. But in reality, at least in the near future, Android Wear devices are just going to be a Google Now watch. If that is true, why was this delay from Google? Sony, Samsung, Pebble and more already have their own smartwatches. These products are already quite popular in the market. Is there a space for a new OS in the wearable market.

What is Android Wear?

Android wear is a stripped down version of Android OS for smartwatches and other wearables. It was announced on March 18 2014 . Google’s Android Wear will have Motorola, HTC, LG and more as manufacturing projects. The first device featuring Android Wear will be Moto 360 from Motorola and later it will be followed by LG’s G watch.

Isn't Android Wear late?

Mock Teaser : Android Wear Message Notification feature

The following are the reasons which makes Google’s Android Wear a late entry in wearable market.

#1 Wearables is nothing  new

       The idea of wearable devices was always there and is still present. Wearable devices had it’s inception a few decades back. But, only recently, it made a notable entrance to the mainstream commercial market. In the past, many enthusiasts and researchers have developed wearable devices. Steve Mann is a researcher known for his contribution to wearable computing.  The below image shows his invention “Digital Eye Glass”.

Self-portraits of Steve Mann with "Digital Eye Glass" (wearable computer and Augmediated Reality systems) from 1980s to 2000s [Pic Courtest: wikipedia]

Self-portraits of Steve Mann with “Digital Eye Glass” (wearable computer and Augmediated Reality systems) from 1980s to 2000s [Pic Courtesy: Wikipedia]

#2 Google have already got rid of Motorola

        For high efficiency of wearable devices,  it requires an inherent coupling of hardware and software. Wearable devices require some typical characteristics like small size, low power consumption and portability. Hence, an embedded OS would fit more in such a demanding scenario than a generic mobile OS. Affordability is a great factor if Google intend to make Android Wear an instant hit.  Google could have benefited much if it had prolonged the process of selling Motorola a bit more.

#3 Google Glass is already 2 years old

         Yes. You heard it right. Google Glass turned 2 on April 4 2014. But, the sad part is it still got a limited horizon. It is still to hit the traditional electronic markets.  If you haven’t still got your hands on it, the Google Glass Explorer Program might be the one that would make it a possibility. Many speculate Android Wear is just an extended revision of Google Glass. Why is Google keeping Google Glass and Android Wear separate?  And, that’s exactly why many wish Android Wear should have preceded Google Glass.

#4 Samsung’s Tixen OS, Sony’s smartphone platform, etc might be already ahead

       Google is not the first major company to enter wearable industry. Sony  have snubbed the option of using Android Wear in it’s new Smartwatch 3. Third version of it’s smartphone is already under development and it might be one reason that could make it ahead of Moto 360. Mean while, Samsung also have ditched the option and they are going completely the non-Android way. Samsung will stick with it’s own Tizen operating system, a Linux based OS. Both these platforms have the luxury of 2+ years of experience in the industry.

#5 Many wearable devices prior to Moto 360 have already made big impact

        Samsung’s gear is already a competitor. Unlike it’s competitors, Moto 360 will push the basic  notifications to forefront. For many, the most anticipated gadget won’t be Moto 360.  There are Fin, Oculus Rift and many more in that long list of anticipation. For those who are hearing FIN for the first time, be sure to watch the below video. I guarantee that you will get mesmerized after seeing it.

Yet, there is HOPE  and Why I might be wrong !

Better Late than Never. In retrospective, the prime aim of Google’s silent acquire of Android in 2005 was never to revolutionize the world of ubiquitous computing.  Rather, it was a cunning move from the search giant and later releasing the open source Android SDK  in 2008 to the public. It was to conquer the mobile software world and more importantly, to win the cold war against Apple. In that perspective, Google is still one step ahead of Apple. By selling Motorola to Lenovo, Google’s intention might be to concentrate on the software aspects more.  With the advent of Google’s Android Wear, Google could bring a standardization in the wearable market, at least in the mainstream.

moto 360 smartwatch

IT’S TIME or IT’S LATE [Pic Courtesy : Motorola Mobility]

 In this era of smartphones and tablets, the real potential of wearable devices lie on how well it can collaborate and communicate with the smartphones and other mobile devices. As the smart wears will be embedded with a wide range of sensors, many difficult things would become a possibility with ease like controlling smartphones and systems with simple gestures.  Let’s hope Google’s Android Wear does exactly that. Let it simplify our daily life and renovate the wearable technologies along with the hidden goal of vying to win over Apple.

Lastly, lets not forget Google was late in the world of search engines yet made it big.  The same thing would happen in wearable industry. It’s not just a possibility, but something that is bound to happen. But as I see it,  it largely depends on the affordability factor and the innovative factor. Another factor would be social acceptance considering the unavoidable privacy invasion it would bring in. But, that is left to debate for tech enthusiasts with a segregated mindset 😀 .

Will Google’s Android Wear emerge as a dominant platform for wearables? Lets wait and see !!!


Freelancer and a Wireless tech enthusiast at Blog-Jakes
Anoop Jacob, known as Jakes, is a Wireless tech enthusiast and blogger from India. He is also a researcher and a birder by hobby.

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