Along with the debut of the Motorola 360 Smartwatch last March, Google quietly announced its first ever operating system designed for its wearable devices; the Android Wear OS, a forked version of the full-fledge Android Kitkat 4.4 smartphone and tablet operating system. Under its hood, the popular Android voice-assisted artificial intelligence called the ‘Google Now’ is also applied across its entire system to bring a whole new level of control and interaction with wearable gizmos.
The search engine company is planning on releasing the OS to a much larger scale in the near future, hoping to be the standard platform for digital wristwatches and other wearable devices. But, how does it fair with the full-fledge Android Kitkat platform? What can you do with the Android Wear OS? Read on to find out about the new wearable operating system from Google.
How reliable is it?
The idea behind Android Wear OS is that it is poised to be a standalone operating system for smartwatches with an interchangeable clock user interface as its primary feature. The Google Now voice-assisted navigation is just an additional inclusion, since some smartwatches may debut without a physical keyboard.
However, depending on the manufacturer, the functionality of the Wear OS should be receiving notifications from Android smartphones, getting weather information and scanning emails from your handset. But, it could also go beyond its basic functionalities, if manufacturers will produce their smartwatches with a SIM card slot, larger battery, and rich graphics/processor (for gaming).
So far, the Moto 360 and the LG G Watch are designed only to do basic functions. At this point, devices that are running the OS are still reliant with a full-fledge smartphone, although, it can run independently by themselves as digital time-telling devices.
Voice Command Functionalities
Although it is a forked version of the original Android OS, the following applications are still integrated into its system – YouTube, Google Hangouts, Google Play Music, Google Now, Google Calendar, and Google Search. Using a voice command, you can interact with your Android Wear device hands-free and do the following:
· Schedule or delete a reminder using your Google Calendar account
· Perform a quick web search
· Scan for places of interests nearby like restaurants and movie houses
· Engage in Google Hangouts conversation
· Watch videos or stream music on YouTube
· Listen to stored music on your smartwatch through Google Play Music
These functionalities, however, require a reliable data connection. The Moto 360 and the LG G Watch connect to any Bluetooth-enabled smartphones to access wireless data network.
Does It Have An Applications Store?
The OS will have an applications store, but all the apps that can be downloaded from it are all optimised for its miniature screen.Similar to the Tizen OS that is powering the Samsung Galaxy Gear Fit, the applications that are available for the Android Wear OS are all heavily focused on health and fitness monitoring. The wearable device is designed to complement with the Galaxy S5’s Health features. It has the same S-health application with a heart sensor, calorie count, trainer tracker, and fitness routines as featured on the S5 on O2 page. However, the Galaxy Gear Fit doesn’t run with full-fledge Android apps, as it only acts as a companion device to the handset.
Digital Ticketing And Find Your Phone Feature
With its integration of Google Now, the smartwatch OS can also scan emails containing a QR code which can be used for boarding passes. In the event that you’ve received a QR code in your email, you can instantly display it on your smartwatch screen and tap the QR scanners situated in transit terminals. This will revolutionize the way people purchase event and transit tickets. Another feature integrated in the Android Wear OS is the ability to locate your connected smartphone. It utilizes the Google Maps service to do the trick.
These are some of the features of the new Android Wear OS. As reported by Slash Gear, apart from LG and Motorola, other global manufacturers including Samsung, HTC, and Asus have already announced partnership with the Android development team, in the hope to bring more wearable gizmos on the market running the OS.