So What is Android Wear?


Android Wear is an open source operating system for wearables developed and maintained by Google. It is a port of the Google Now card system for notifications to smartwatches, released in early fall 2014.

The objective of Android Wear is to make notifications more personal, and more context-aware. Google will track you wherever you go and factor that data into a notification system that gives you helpful info at the right times. For example, you’re at a baseball game. Your watch gives you a notification it’s about to rain, and you hurry to safety. Meanwhile, everyone else is soaked. Android Wear just saved the day!

With Android wear, notifications come in three forms: Stacks, Pages, and Replies. Stacks group multiple notifications into a single card. In Gmail, for example, you recieve 5 emails, and you’ll get a single Stack card with a snippet from the latest email. Underneath is a gray text area that says “+5 more”. You can then expand the Stack and look at each individual email.

Pages give you multiple cards for the same notification, offering a little more information on a subject. An example would be say, a meeting alert, then a list of participants and the meeting agenda. This allows for a deeper glance into your notification.

Replies are Android Wear’s version of actionable notifications: notifications that can be acted upon. This’ll require a wee bit more effort on the developer’s part, and it’ll enable a great level of interactivity in apps. Whem replying, you’ll use voice commands and text-to-speech – no keyboard required.

Just say “Ok Google” to get the information you need. Ask anything, like “Will it rain this weekend,” or “What time is it in London,” or “How many calories are there in an avocado?”

That’s about it! Capabilities include music playback, weather, maps, calendars, fitness, calls, navigation, and reminders. The current list of Android Wear devices includes the Motorola Moto 360, the LG G Watch, the Samsung Gear Live, and the Sony Smartwatch 3. This operating system is a great start for Google, and will propel them into the wearables market.

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