Google has dropped a large wearable bombshell today in the form of a developer preview for “Android Wear,” a smartwatch platform that works a bit like Google Now for your wrist. Now, various hardware manufacturers are coming out of the woodwork to announce their own plans to create wearable devices. LG announced first, with its G Watch due to arrive next quarter. The watch appears to be a simple, plastic square with an LCD touchscreen. In a statement, LG’s CEO of mobile communications said simply that LG would “pull out all the stops in both design and engineering.” LG also said it was “developed in close collaboration with Google,” but stopped short of dubbing it a “Nexus” device.
Motorola also has announced plans for a smartwatch. The company, which is about to be purchased by Lenovo, said in a blog post today that it would be called Moto 360. It has a round face and looks much more elegant than any smartwatch we’ve seen thus far. Motorola said that “all the core components are technically brand new,” and already Motorola is showing off at least a couple of elegant, analog-style watch faces for the circular screen of the watch. Like the rest of the watches on the Android Wear platform, it will support voice commands, ambient alerts, directions, and notifications. Motorola is holding a live Google Hangout with the lead designer of the Moto 360, Jim Wicks, at 2pm ET on March 19th.
On it’s Android Wear site, Google has listed other partners, including HTC, Samsung, and Asus. Fossil also released a carefully worded press release, in which it said it was “working together with Google supporting the extension of Android into wearables with Android Wear.” Presumably that means it, too, is working on a watch.
No company has committed to an exact release date — though Motorola said it’s would be available in a “variety of styles globally in Summer 2014.” We don’t yet know technical details like battery life, screen resolution, and all the rest. If they’re anything like the concepts that Google has posted, each will have a color screen and will accept voice commands. Android Wear also has the necessary APIs for a wide array of sensors — as Google’s Sundar Pichai announced earlier this month — so it’s likely that at least some of them will support health tracking.