updated 01:15 pm EDT, Wed June 25, 2014
New Android branch specifically for wearables sped up, made more flexible
At Google's 2014 I/O conference, the company has given more details on the its previously-announced Android Wear platform. Amongst other improvements, the operating system for wearables supports both rectangular and circular screens natively, in a large array of sizes. Some of the abilities of the platform, such as instant data sync across devices were demonstrated. Additionally, sending data to a linked phone was displayed by swiping the note over to the device.
The platform, clearly intended as adjuncts to a nearby Android phone, stays at low-power until the device is brought up for viewing or swiped. The keynote briefly discussed the user interface for Android Wear, including navigation.
Voice controls to a linked phone were shown in some detail, including note taking with voice-to-text and scheduling. Third-party contextual data notifications such as restaurant reservations, package tracking information and travel information were displayed as well.
Google also noted that its new revision of Android, called L, will include smart device unlocking. When a wearable is close to the user's phone, the new operating system will not require an unlocking code. When the wearable is farther away, with a range selectable by the user, it will require the unlocking code to activate the device.
The full Android Wear developer's kit (SDK) is available now. The new release allows for developers to write apps that run on the wearable itself. New APIs in Google Play are also now available to simplify integration of full Android apps with the wearable ecosystem.
Two new devices, one from Samsung and one from LG, are noted as being available for pre-order today. The Motorola Android Wear watch will be available later in the year.