The Moto 360 smartwatch
|Written in||C (core), C++, Java|
|Source model||Open source with closed source components|
|Initial release||March 18, 2014|
|Latest release||184.108.40.20629099 (Based on Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow)|
|Marketing target||Smartwatches, other wearables|
|Platforms||32-bit ARM, MIPS, x86|
|Kernel type||Monolithic (modified Linux kernel)|
|Userland||Bionic libc, shell from NetBSD, native core utilities with a few from NetBSD|
|Default user interface||Graphical (Multi-touch)|
|License||Developer Preview: proprietary
Apache License 2.0
Linux kernel patches under GNU GPL v2
Android Wear is a version of Google's Android operating system designed for smartwatches and other wearables. By pairing with mobile phones running Android version 4.3 or newer, or iOS version 8.2 or newer with limited support from Google's pairing application, Android Wear integrates Google Now technology and mobile notifications into a smartwatch form factor. It also adds the ability to download applications from the Google Play Store.
Android Wear supports both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi  connectivity, as well as a range of features and applications. Watch face styles include round, square and rectangular. Released devices include Motorola Moto 360, the LG G Watch, and the Samsung Gear Live. Hardware manufacturing partners include ASUS, Broadcom, Fossil, HTC, Intel, LG, MediaTek, Imagination Technologies, Motorola, Qualcomm, Samsung, Huawei, Polar and TAG Heuer.
In the first six months of availability, Canalys estimates that over 720,000 Android Wear smartwatches were shipped. As of 15 January 2016[update], Android Wear had between one and five million application installations. Android Wear was estimated to account for 10% of the smart watch market in 2015.
History and Compatibility
The platform was announced on March 18, 2014, along with the release of a developer preview. At the same time, companies such as Motorola, Samsung, LG, HTC and Asus were announced as partners. On June 25, 2014, at Google I/O, the Samsung Gear Live and LG G Watch were launched, along with further details about Android Wear. The LG G Watch is the first Android Wear smartwatch to be released and shipped. Motorola's Moto 360 was released on September 5, 2014.
The LG G Watch and Gear Live started shipping in July 2014, while the Moto 360 began shipping in September 2014. The next batch of Android Wear devices, which arrived at the end of 2014, included the Asus ZenWatch, the Sony SmartWatch 3, and the LG G Watch R. As of March 2015[update], the latest Android Wear devices are the LG Watch Urbane, and the Huawei Watch.
On August 31, 2015, Google launched pairing application for iOS version 8.2 or newer, allowing limited support for receiving iOS notifications on smartwatches running Android Wear. As of September 2015[update], only the LG Watch Urbane and Huawei Watch are supported, but Google announced support for more smartwatch models.
Users can find directions by voice from the phone, choose transport mode, including bike, and start a journey. While traveling, the watch shows directions, and vibrates to indicate turns by feel.
Via Google Fit and similar applications, Android Wear supports ride and run tracking ("OK Google, start a run"). On devices sporting the needed sensor, heart activity can be sampled automatically through the day or on demand ("OK Google, what's my heart rate"). Step-counting, calorie expenditure etc. are also monitored. These features work within the Fit ecosystem, allowing integration with companion devices and applications. The watch reinforces achievements with cards noting goal attainment, when a goal is near, summaries of heart, and body activity.
Users can use their Android Wear Watch to control their phone. Music can be requested (for instance, "OK Google, play the Rolling Stones"). The screen then shows a card for play-control, volume, skip, media images, allowing music to be controlled from the wrist with the user free to move.
The vibration engine alerts users about important notifications originating from a user-selectable set of applications. Wear provides multiple options for replying, including Google Voice for dictating responses to email (including third-party email applications like Type), and spoken or drawn emoticons.
Intelligent notifications from Google Now are supported including traffic, flights, hotel check-in, meeting alerts, location- and time-based reminders, weather and sport, stocks, flight status, boarding passes, restaurant bookings, etc.
Users can receive messages sent to them via Google Hangouts, and respond with a voice message. Users can also set the alarm by using 'Okay Google' on Android Wear. Currently new SMS can be initiated from the watch. Wear 5.1.1 supports drawing to reply, which uses AI to interpret the user's sketch as an emoji character. Search by voice is fully supported. Google Now searches such as "How tall is Nicole Kidman" result in Knowledge Graph cards appearing on screen, with options to open the search result on another device.
If the phone's camera app is activated, the screen is relayed to the watch, and the user can control the shutter, and view photos on the watch. Third-party applications support using the phone camera as a streaming device, or more varied camera control.
Events appear as cards on screen. "OK Google, show my agenda" will display the user's agenda. Watch faces also support marking out appointments (for instance with contrasting color to show periods with an appointment, and/or illuminating a lighted "count-down" line for upcoming appointments.
Note taking is fully supported via Google Keep and other note-apps, as is marking-off check lists etc. Via voice commands such as "OK Google, remind me to call Roy at work", or "Remind me to baste the chicken in 25 minutes" the user can create location and time-based reminders, set alarms, timers etc. which appear on the watch at the appropriate time or place.
Many applications has been released, with developers such as Evernote etc. creating new functionality on the watch: for instance, handing-off notes to the watch screen when the user turns off their phone screen. Location-based applications like Foursquare show suitable near-by venues, allow check-in etc.
- The original version 1.0 was launched 25 June 2014 on Google I/O.
- Version 1.3 was launched 20 August 2015. The main new update was the addition of interactive watch faces.
This version of Android Wear, based on Android 5.0 Lollipop, added new features such as Wi-Fi connection (to compliment the Bluetooth on capable models), and introduced improvents in speed and battery life.
- Version 1.4 which is based on Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow, was launched on the 4th of February 2016. The most important new features included more gestures, the ability to send voice messages directly from the watch, and speaker support (for calls, music etc.).
- Version 1.5 brought minor bug fixes and returned the ability to restart watch from the settings. Android security patch level is also present in the About screen.
- Version 2.0 was announced at Google I/O 2016 on 18 May 2016. New features include standalone apps, which can be downloaded directly to a watch running Wear 2.0 using the Google Play Store for Watch, handwriting recognition, a keyboard, dark background for OLED watch displays and a new, redefined circular user interface. The Wear 2.0 Preview supports only the LG Watch Urbane Second Edition LTE and Huawei Watch currently.
List of Android Wear Devices
- Asus ZenWatch
- Asus ZenWatch 2
- Asus ZenWatch 3
- Casio Smart Outdoor Watch
- Fossil Q Founder
- Huawei Watch
- LG G Watch
- LG G Watch R
- LG Watch Urbane (1st generation)
- LG Watch Urbane (2nd generation)
- Moto 360 (1st generation)
- Moto 360 (2nd generation)
- Moto 360 Sport
- Polar M600
- Samsung Gear Live
- Sony SmartWatch 3
- Tag Heuer Connected
- Fossil Q Marshal
- Fossil Q Wander
- Michael Kors Access
- New Balance Smartwatch
- Nixon Mission (Launching Fall 2016)
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