Google just announced a new project called Android Wear, and as that name implies, it’s an “at-a-glance” variation of Google’s OS tailored specifically for wearables. So far, LG and Motorola have already announced Android Wear smartwatches, and they’re just the first in a slew of Android-powered wristables coming this year.
According to the announcement, Google’s working with Asus, HTC, LG , Motorola and Samsung. Chip makers Broadcom, Imagination, Intel, Mediatek and Qualcomm are also on the project. It’s not clear yet what this means for a device coming from Google itself.
Given the recent smartwatch craze — and subsequent disappointments — it was only a matter of time before Google took matters into its own, er, hands. It’s a move that’s even more necessary given that Samsung has apparently abandoned Android for its smartwatch project, choosing instead to use the open-source, lightweight Tizen OS .
For now, there’s a developer preview for the new OS which guides devs through tailoring their notifications so that they will show up on Google’s new wrist-based platform.
According to Google, we’ll see watches powered by Android Wear later this year, and we’re glad to see that the company has taken its time with the platform given how difficult it’s proven to get it right. According to Google’s specs, Android Wear should be voice responsive and provide notifications at-a-glance, a bit like Google Now on your wrist.
With the specter of an iWatch looming on the horizon, Android Wear couldn’t have come at a better. And besides the embarrassment of barking OK Google at your wrist, it sounds very promising, especially if the hardware can live up to the promise of the platform.