We’ve seen smartwatches flirt with Android, like Samsung’s Galaxy Gear, but Google has something far more ambitious planned for the future. Enter Android Wear: Google’s first crack at creating a universal OS that brings the key features of Android to a variety of wearables.
Google is collaborating with top names in both tech and fashion to create Android Wear devices, which will sport touch screens and start to arrive this summer. The search giant is already working with brands like HTC, LG, Samsung, Qualcomm and high-end watch maker Fossil.
According to Google’s blog, Android Wear will provide real-time notifications from all of your social and news apps, and will support voice commands via “Ok Google.” As you might expect, this wrist-worn OS will support fitness apps and has the ability to sync with your smartphone.
Google’s official announcement video for Android Wear shows some of the potential use cases for the mobile OS, including one user getting a quick glance at Google Maps directions on his wrist before leaving the house. You should also be able to hold up your wrist to identify music, Shazam-style.
It’s not clear whether you’ll be able to make and receive calls from an Android Wear device, but there is a built-in microphone. That’s how you can ask questions and also respond to incoming texts.
Google’s developer preview site for Android Wear shows what the OS will look like on different types of smartwatch screens, with an official SDK coming soon for app builders.