Freddy Cloud

Frederick (“Freddy”) Cloud has had a passion for all things electronic since he “accidently” caused the class Commodore PET to malfunction in 8th grade. “I swear. I didn’t do it on purpose” He was quoted as saying to a very unhappy computer teacher... Read his full bio

When is a watch not *just* a watch

On March 18th, Google announced its newest platform entitled Android Wear. Now, you can guess by the title that this is aimed at the growing wearables market, which includes things like smart watches like the Pebble and those adorable fitness bands like the FitBit and the Nike Fuel Band. These devices have lead the way in the wearables revolution, but I’ve always said that the REAL revolution won’t begin until Google and Apple show their hands. And with Android Wear, Google just made this market a whole lot more interesting …

google-now-cards Google isn’t (without one or two exceptions) a hardware company. They make the operating system and then make it available to companies that make the hardware. So first, I’ll talk about Android Wear. If you have a newer (meaning in the last 2 years or so) Android-based device, you’ve probably run into Google Now, which is a real-time assistance of sorts. Don’t know what I’m talking about? Ok, let’s say you use Googles products, like Gmail and Google Calendar, and you’ve allowed Google to scan these products for your information. You have a meeting at 3 o’clock across town. If you’ve set it up properly, Google Now will alert you about the meeting, tell you how long it will take you to get to the meeting, let you know the traffic conditions based on your location, and let you know when you should leave for the meeting to get there on time. And of course provide a link to Google Maps to tell you the best way to get there. Have a flight? Google Now will tell you the flights status, when you should leave to get to the airport, the weather where you’re going to land, and depending on the airline, will give you the ticket barcode to scan at the gate when you get to the airport. And that’s not even HALF of what Google Now can do. It’s amazing to have this application running on your phone or tablet.

Moto360.5_610x338So essentially Android Wear is Google Now but not on your phone or tablet. In this instance, it’s on a smart watch. So now that alert on your phone is being fed to your wrist, and you can act on it. Not only those alerts, but email, phone calls, text messages, tweets, all this information that you generally take your phone out to action you’ll be able to do on your wrist. Now, acting on phone alerts isn’t really anything new, but Google Now is contextual information, like the meeting alert, being fed to you BEFORE you need it. Flick your wrist, the calendar appointment is there before the appointment time. The address is there for you to see. The flight information is ready when you get to the airport without your having to look for it. THAT’S what makes Android Wear so awesome.

moto-360-watch-640x378To make this even more awesome, Google has partnered with companies like Motorola, LG, HTC, Samsung (Yeah … that Galaxy Gear isn’t looking all that great right about now), even Fossil to make devices that use Android Wear. And to kick it off, Motorola and LG have announced two smart watches that will be available sometime this summer. Personally, I think Motorola’s 360 is ridiculously fly. There’s not a lot of information available on it just yet, but trust me … as a watch guy and a gadget addict, this one has my undivided attention. And it’s only going to get better. With so many partners, there will be all kinds of devices at all sorts of price points. And the best part? A device using Android Wear will work with ANY Android phone using Android OS 4.3 and up. What a novel idea … making something that works with pretty much any device using a particular OS, instead of their own line of phones.

So now that we’ve seen what Google is doing, the only other question is what Apple has in mind, assuming they have anything coming. I’m sure that they do, but I’ve been disappointed in the past expecting something revolutionary and seeing a company deciding to sit that particular revolution out. We’ll know soon enough …

Freddy C.

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