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Summary:

Even if you’re not a developer you might want to download and install the developer preview of Android Wear. Why? Because you can run an emulator to simulate an Android Wear smartwatch to see how it works.

Android Wear watch

It didn’t even take a full 24 hours after Google announced the Android Wear smartwatch platform for people to download the developer preview and tinker. Not all of them are even developers, either.

Why download it then? Because the software tools include an emulator to simulate an Android Wear smartwatch, showing more details of Google’s vision for computers on your wrist. Dom Espisito is one of the first to take an early look and he walks through the current state of Android Wear in this brief but informative video.

It’s worth noting that Google still has work to do with the platform as many features and functions are still limited in this first beta iteration.

The Wear app that resides on an Android phone for connectivity and notifications is pretty basic, for example. It also doesn’t look like you can reply to incoming messages from your wrist yet, although I anticipate that will be in the final software version. I’m hoping the always-listening functionality found in the Moto X makes its way to at least one Android Wear watch — perhaps the Moto 360 — so you don’t have to tap the screen before saying “OK Google” and speaking a command or search query.

Still, I like what I see so far because the end product I’m envisioning looks just like what I’ve wanted on my wrist since last year: Contextual information at a glance.

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  1. One thing that I’d love to see Google add is improved weather information. I found it amusing that Google’s concept video included a jelly fish alert, while Google Now’s weather currently cannot distinguish between afternoon flurries and an afternoon snowstorm. Sometimes I think the fact that tech companies are located on the West Coast causes their weather solutions to be ridiculously inadequate for people living in the Midwest. A hi/lo with a cute weather icon just doesn’t cut it, nor does a graph showing chance of precipitation. The best solution I’ve found is WeatherBug’s short one sentence summaries of the weather for the day, which allows for them to include details such as (the not uncommon) 20+ degree temperature swings and the amount and timing of snow. If Google won’t provide that level of detail, hopefully Android Wear is open enough to allow a 3rd-party app to provide the information required to survive a standard Milwaukee winter.

    1. Your comment about the weather has less to do about Google and more to do about weather predictions of which Google is tapping into that data. If the data improves, Google improves.

      But you are correct in that developers, such as WeatherBug, can develop “cards” or whatever they call them for you to subscribe to with Google Now.

  2. Google’s concept video, it’s not real yet not until Apple shows them how to do it. It currently is as real as that HP tablet in January 2010, the one Balmer raised above his head, right before Apple announced the original iPad.

    1. Congrats, that only took a day to turn this into an Apple v. Google debate! ;)

      From a WSJ interview with Lior Ron, Motorola’s VP of Product Management and Wearables Lead.

      “It is a very real product. I am wearing it on my hand as we speak and have been using it for the last few weeks”

    2. Apple has had to wait till Android did notifications and WP8 did flat UI before coming out with iOS7. Its not that Apple is being left behind, they still come out first with some innovations, its just that they are no longer #1 at doing so, everyone else has caught up.

      Wearables is one of them and a year ago I would have thought Apple would have blown everyone else away (Gear was a rather bad product) but this Moto is just WOW. And its always been about the backend data and AI and Google rules this roost with Microsoft working hard to come in second.

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