Google's new smartwatch platform could make you more productive this year. This week Google announced Android Wear, a new version of the Android operating system designed for smartwatches. The project aims to pack all the productivity-boosting features of your smartphone into wrist-ready devices. Android-based smartwatches such as the Samsung Galaxy Gear are already available, but Android Wear watches will be the first devices to run on the first Google-designed operating system thats fine-tuned for wearable gadgets.
You can't buy an Android Wear smartwatch just yet, but Google said a variety of options are coming this year from manufacturers, including ASUS, HTC, LG, Motorola and Samsung. Here are three features that could make Android Wear worth waiting for.
Like any good smartwatch, the key functionality of an Android Wear device will be to push your notifications straight to your wrist. By linking your smartwatch to your smartphone via Bluetooth, you can ensure all your notifications are just one glance away. That way, you'll never risk overlooking an important email, text message, missed call or calendar notification.
2. Google Now
Google Now is an intelligent personal assistant that is designed to know what you need before you ask for it. The service works by monitoring your activity within the Google ecosystem and pushing relevant news and alerts to you as they're detected. In practice, the service can notify you of traffic delays, weather alerts, flight delays and much more. It's more powerful than other notification services because of its tight integration with Google search and your existing Gmail and Google Calendar accounts. So far, Google Now has been available only on smartphones, but Android Wear will bring the service right to your wrist so that it's always within view
3. Touchless controls
Android Wear smartwatches will feature miniature touch screens to help you navigate between apps, check and respond to notifications, and more. But touchless controls will make those tasks quicker and easier. The watches will feature the same voice control functionality found in newer Android smartphones such as Google's Nexus 5. Just say "OK Google," then follow up with a command to send a text message, call a taxi or set an alarm. Hands-free controls let you perform those actions quickly and without pulling your smartphone in and out of your pocket, so you can do what you need to do and get back to work.