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Full Android Wear features detailed at Google I/O

As expected, Google has used its Google I/O keynote to detail the full array of upcoming Android Wear features, and its wearables OS looks like and exciting proposition.

Set to power devices such as the LG G Watch and Motorola Moto 360, Android Wear is a smartwatch based operating system built around many of the same Android features found in the company’s dominant smartphone OS.

“We are right at the beginning of the miniaturisation of technology, which means that it’s finally possible to make a powerful computer small enough to wear comfortably on your body all day long,” David Singleton, Google’s Director of Engineering for Android said in unveiling Android Wear.

He added: “There is a great opportunity to build rich experiences to these devices, that’s why we are building Android Wear.”
Android Wear Design

The Android Wear design will be one familiar to many smartphone users, closely echoing the look and feel of the standard Android OS.

Utilising a traditional swipe to navigate UI, Android Wear has been developed to support both square and round faced watches, with the wearable OS featuring textured backgrounds, and a sleek interface.

“People will be wearing these small, portable devices so style is important and that why Android wear supports both square and circular screens and we think there will be a broad range of stylish devices,” Singleton said.

As you would on a handset, Android Wear watches will allow users to slide through notification and alert ‘cards’, as well as those of apps open on your phone. Those wanting a less cluttered smartwatch experience can simply swipe a card away to remove it from their stream.

Android Wear Features

Looking to remove the need to pull your smartphone out of your pocket, Android Wear will bring all manner of notifications and alerts to your compatible smartwatch.

“Android wear is about relevant information,” Singleton said detailing the software. “It can understand context about what you care about and at any given time will show you the most important information to you.”

This information includes everything from call, email and messaging alerts to app notifications, location and weather details and activity data.

With Android Wear keeping your watch and your phone in sync, anytime your phone receives a notification or alert which causes it to buzz, the details will automatically be pushed to your watch which will then vibrate.

It won’t be hard to fill your Android Wear watch with compatible apps either.

“When a watch is connected, the wearable portion of an app is installed and kept up to date on that device,” Singleton revealed.

This effortless integration is a major step ahead of Samsung’s Tizen-based Gear smartphones and subsequent device manager. With apps from cooking adds – which can set oven timer alerts at the touch of the screen – to music controls, the Android Wear OS looks set to finally bring smartwatches to the realms of viability.

“Your smartwatch will act as a key in the multiscreen world,” Singleton said of this wrist-based control features.

As you would expect, the Android Wear features list includes means of handling incoming calls. Although it doesn’t appear that Android Wear will support wrist-based calls, the software will allow users to reject calls or send one of a number of SMS responses from their wrist.

With the rise of wearbales birthing the introduction of a mass of fitness trackers, Android Wear will also support a number of activity tracing features.

As well as showing daily step counts and weekly activity charts, Singleton revealed that “on devices that support it, [Android Wear] can even check your heart rate after a jog.”

The first Android Wear compatible devices – the LG G Watch, Samsung Gear Live and Motorola Moto 360 – will all launch in the coming weeks and months.

The LG G Watch and Samsung Gear Live will be made available for pre-order later today.

Read More: Sony Smartwatch 2 review

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