Android Smartwatches Now Officially a Thing

Samsung’s Galaxy Gear may have been the first smartwatch on the market but soon it will have company. Lots of company.

While Apple’s iWatch languishes in the realm of rumour and speculation, yesterday saw three big announcements pertaining to Android wearable tech—two new smartwatches coming this summer and a development platform available right now.

Android Wear

The video above shows Android Wear in action. There’s just a bit more technical detail on the Android Developers Blog. It’s still a fair amount of fluff at this point, but one thing seems fairly clear: This isn’t some kooky one-off experiment; it’s Android proper tuned for smartwatches, and coming directly from Google it will almost certainly be the go-to platform for app developers.

Don’t believe me? Here’s a quote from Sundar Pichai:

We’re 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.

In other words, the Tizen-powered Galaxy Gear 2 has just become a lame duck.

Moto 360

ZOMG GUYZ, IT’S ROUND!!1!

Not much else is known at this point about Motorola’s first foray into the smartwatch space; you can see some more photos and sign up for email alerts on their announcement page.

LG G Watch

LG G Watch

No video here, just a render from Engadget and a sound bite from LG:

 “The opportunity to work with Google on LG G Watch was the perfect chance for LG to really pull out all stops in both design and engineering,” said Dr. Jong-seok Park, CEO of LG’s Mobile Communications division. “We’re confident that a well-designed device has the potential to take the smart wearable market by storm.”

Questions Remain

I must admit that, even after a weekend with the original Galaxy Gear, I’m not super-excited about smartwatches in general. I stopped wearing a watch the day I got my first mobile with network-updated time and honestly, I’m far more intrigued by Google Glass—even after yesterday’s big news.

But I can appreciate that a smartwatch with Google Now on board makes a lot of sense. And if the price is right—say, two hundred bucks or less—an impulse purchase wouldn’t be entirely out of the question.

What do you think of Android Wear and these new devices?

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