Google’s first foray into wearable computing, Google Glass, has been… mixed. For every useful idea, there’s been some Glasshole to make it look bad. Fortunately, Google’s next wearable device, Android Wear, won’t make you nearly as punchable. Just possibly mistaken for a mentally ill person!
Yes, Google is putting out a smartwatch. To be fair, though, Google’s promo video for Android Wear actually makes a credible case for this thing being useful, unlike Samsung’s instructional video on how to be a douche… until you get to the guy talking to his watch on a crowded bus:
The sad thing is that this is, by far, the most compelling argument that wearable tech might actually be something of interest to the wider public, something we’ve yet to see so far. Google’s concept does what you’d expect; offers up notifications, tracks your health, controls other devices. What’s mostly interesting is the geolocal alerts Google shows off, although the video doesn’t really answer why it’s so inconvenient to just pull out your phone.
Notably missing, however, are any actual products. Yeah, the demo video is neat, but part of the reason we’re so down on wearables is that as it stands, they’re little more than a second screen for your phone that you have to charge. For Android Wear products to really work, they’re going to have to offer some compelling value, and be a bit more independent from your phone. Whether Google’s “hardware partners” can deliver that is an open question.
On the bright side, at least most of the watches featured in this video are something you’d actually put on your wrist, instead of the ridiculous blocky ’80s refugees that are most smartwatches. So essentially, as long as you don’t talk to your watch on the bus, you might actually not look like a complete dork.