Today Google announced the smartwatch extension of their mobile platform, Android Wear. As device manufacturers like LG and Motorola reveal their first gadgets based on the platform, the ball moves into Apple’s court.
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As Google fires first major smartwatch salvo, how will Apple respond?

Today Google announced the smartwatch extension of their mobile platform, Android Wear. While numerous Android wearables have launched in recent months, including Samsung’s line of Gear devices, Android Wear marks the first instance of official Google support for such devices. As device manufacturers like LG and Motorola announce their first gadgets based on the platform, the ball moves into Apple’s court.

Moto-360-Cafe

As the name applies, the newly announced software is Android tailored for wearables. It takes a familiar interface and pares it down to what does and doesn’t work on the smaller display of a watch, taking into consideration a limited range of input option. A system similar to Google Now will present wearers with relevant information, from notifications and updates to local attractions and offers. Voice input will be a large part of controlling an Android Wear device, and, not surprisingly, support for fitness and health sensors is included.

Many of these features we have heard associated with the rumored iWatch, as well. Apple is said to be working on an improved version of Siri with greater third-party app integration that will be key to how users interact with the device, while recent leaks suggest advanced fitness and health sensors could be a key selling point.

Along with the new software came the announcement of devices like the Moto 360 and LG G Watch, both of which are some of the better examples of smartwatch design we have seen to date. These factors add up to what looks to be one of the best attempts at creating a wearable smart device to date. Apple certainly has its work cut out, but we have reason to believe they won’t disappoint.

We need only look at the iPhone and iPad to understand why. With these devices Apple was able to take what were at the time emerging, undeveloped concepts (the smartphone and tablet) and turn them into mainstream cultural icons, spawning entire industries in their wake. Will Apple catch lightning in a bottle for a third time with the launch of the first smartwatch to see mass adoption?

Android’s problem has long been fragmentation, and Android Wear attempts to nip the issue in the bud for wearable platforms. Apple, however, benefits from its tightly-knit ecosystem. The iWatch will no doubt appeal directly to iPhone and iPad owners, an established user base. When that happens, Android Wear stands little chance.

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  • Teh_Babyarm

    This reader wishes they wouldn’t. Wearables are stupid.

    • I’m not a huge fan of wearables myself, but if any, the iWatch seems like it has the most potential…but that’s strictly because I think Apple can pull it off. Don’t think it will actually offer much more than the smartwatches we currently see running Android, though.