Smart Watch, Meet Google Glass: Google, Motorola & LG Announce A Whole New Class of Intelligent Wearables
This week, the smart watch market shifted into high gear.
And, it got a lot more intelligent – courtesy of Google.
Yesterday, less than a month after Samsung’s announcement of its three new wearables based on the new lightweight Tizen OS, Google announced Android Wear, a slick new Google Glass-like platform for building wearable devices and gadgets.
Now, today, Motorola and LG have announced two new Android Wear-based smart watches.
Today, Motorola unveiled their new ‘Moto 360‘, a really nice looking smart watch with traditional round dial design.
It looks a lot like a popular concept that recently made its way through the internet.
Motorola states on its blog that the Moto 360 will accept both voice and gesture input and commands. They also mention that the 360 will let you twist your wrist to view notifications.
According to Motorola, the Moto 360 will be available sometime this summer.
And… that’s about all we know right now.
We’ll publish a more thorough preview of Motorola’s new smart watch (with more video, too) when additional details become available.
LG’s new G Watch
Also today, LG revealed their brand-new G Watch‘.
LG says the G Watch will arrive in “the second quarter of this year”.
More details coming soon…
The new LG G Watch Image courtesy of LG
Introducing Android Wear
Given the close timing of these three announcements, it appears that Motorola and LG may have worked closely with Google on the PR blitz – most likely to counter Samsung’s aggressive, early market lead.
Per their norm, Apple is mostly silent regarding their plans.
It is notable that Motorola’s and LG’s new wearables will run on Android Wear, Google’s new Android-based wearables development platform.
From early indications, it looks like Android Wear might actually be a port of Google Glass’ user interface – for wearable devices.
The capabilities of the Android Wear platform are detailed in these two short videos from Google:
As you can see, Wear offers native Google Now integration and is focused on contextual awareness, alerts and personalized information.
As we’ve said before, embedding Google Now capabilities into wearable tech may be a game-changing move in the smart watch industry.
This is because Google Now not only offers smarter voice command input and more intelligent alert capabilities, it also integrates with other Google services like GMail, Google Talk, Calendar, Docs, et al. This means that all those inputs and alerts can be a lot more actionable, as well.
Eventually, Google might find a way to monetize the Wear platform by selling highly-targeted advertisements that appear as helpful alerts on your wrist. If this happens, then Google would be able to earn a lot more money from the wearables market than, say, Samsung or Apple, who don’t own a search engine business.
The “Big Three” Emerge
With so many large manufacturers announcing new smart watch devices this year, 2014 is truly shaping up to be the “year of the smart watch”.
Although many critics believe the smart watch market is going nowhere, it is also clear that most of the largest consumer electronics companies in the world disagree with that notion – and are willing to bet billions that the critics are wrong.
Right now, it appears that the three major platforms competing for our wrist-based attention will include:
- Samsung (Tizen OS): the Gear 2, Gear 2 Neo and Gear Fit Fitness Tracker started shipping in April, 2014.
- Google Wear (Android): the new LG G Watch and Motorola Moto 360 and Google Gem/Nexus watches are arriving in the summer of 2014. In addition, Google is working with HTC and Asus on their recently-announced devices.
- Apple (iOS): the new health- and fitness-oriented iWatch is rumored to start shipping as early as the third or fourth quarter of 2014.
In addition to the “Big Three”, we expect popular vendor-specific platforms including those offered by Pebble, Jawbone, Nike and Fitbit will also thrive for several more years, if not longer.
It’s gonna be a really interesting year – that’s for sure.