The race to create the most popular smart watch has truly begun. Since 2013, almost every major technology firm has been attempting to develop its own smart watch variant: Apple, BlackBerry, Google, Microsoft, Samsung and Sony all number among those trying their best to create a smart watch.
The Android OS is uniquely poised for an advantage in this market for a few reasons: there are already existing Android OS smart watches and the Android OS can be ported to a multitude of devices. Of the leading smart watch products today, the vast majority — even those not produced by Google — are running or compatible with the Android OS.
What are the advantages of smart watches?
Smart watches are generally considered extremely convenient when compared to a phone or other device. Ideally, a smart watch would be able to do everything that a smartphone can do. Currently, smart watches function very similarly to a miniature tablet device, connecting the user to social media accounts, email and the web. A smart watch would be continuously accessible and readily viewable; it could also be integrated into Bluetooth devices for hands free music listening and calling. Smart watches would also be less likely to be lost, and also function as a fashion statement.
Why is the Android OS so popular among smart watches?
The Android OS is a fully featured mobile operating system that can be ported to practically any device and that has already been implemented on many inexpensive, low resource mobile devices. It’s uniquely suited to the smart watch environment for this reason. While Apple is in works on an iWatch project, the Android OS can be ported to devices that are not solely governed under Google; this gives it more substantial market penetration.
What is the future of the smart watch?
Google’s smart watch will undoubtedly be the flagship Android smart watch product. Announced as going into production early in 2014, the product is slated to actually launch in 2015.
The watch is designed with a clear, flat surface and is intended to work very similarly to a small mobile device. However, more than this isn’t known; the company has been rather silent regarding the watch’s capabilities and intended functionality despite entering into production, and it has not stated how, if at all, the product will integrate with their revolutionary new Google Glass.
Meanwhile, other products have integrated Android even if they don’t run the OS on their own. Sony has released an Android-compatible smart watch that can work with any smartphone or tablet, enabling calling, applications and different product styles. However, the smart watches that have been released now need to be integrated with a phone or a tablet for more advanced features; this is something that smart watches will likely move away from in the future as they become more popular and more advanced.
The early adoption company Pebble is presently a leader within the smart watch industry, but even it doesn’t perform very many complex tasks natively. “The primary barrier that has been holding smart watches back has nothing to do with processing speed or memory but instead battery life,” reports security researcher for Android technology industry.
The majority of smartphones today have a battery life of perhaps a day, while a watch is required to last much longer than that. It is this barrier that Google has reported that they are now working on, and if — and when — the battery barrier is broken, it’s very likely that additional functionality will be seen in the smart watch devices themselves rather than as integration with a different mobile device.
Whether the smart watch is a fad remains to be seen, but there is something to be said for a proliferation of wearable technology. The smart watch has been something that has been tossed around in design corridors since 1972, before the technology could truly support such a thing. Smart watches may simply be a trend, or they may be a new step in the evolution of communications technology.
If Google chooses to move forward with Google Glass and a Google SmartWatch, the integrated system could completely supplant traditional telephone technology. However, it’s also entirely possible that the battery barrier is simply something that our technology has not yet caught up with; if this is the case, we may have some time to wait until the technology truly catches on.
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About Author: Christopher is a writer for Android antivirus company Armor for Android. Christopher has worked in the Android security field for several years and provides content and advice to Android users.