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Android Wear

Android Wear
The Moto 360 smartwatch
Developer Google
Written in C (core), C++, Java[1]
OS family Unix-like, Android
Working state Current
Source model Open source with closed source components[2]
Initial release March 18, 2014 (2014-03-18)
Latest release Based on Android 5.1.1 "Lollipop"
Marketing target Smartwatches, other wearables
Available in Multi-lingual
Platforms 32-bit ARM, MIPS, x86
Kernel type Monolithic (modified Linux kernel)
Userland Bionic libc,[3] shell from NetBSD,[4] native core utilities with a few from NetBSD[5]
Default user interface Graphical (Multi-touch)
License Developer Preview: proprietary[6]
Apache License 2.0
Linux kernel patches under GNU GPL v2[7]
Official website

Android Wear is a version of Google's Android operating system designed for smartwatches and other wearables.[8][9] By pairing with mobile phones running Android version 4.3+, Android Wear integrates Google Now[10] technology and mobile notifications into a smartwatch form factor. It also adds the ability to download apps from the Google Play Store.

The platform was announced on March 18, 2014, along with the release of a developer preview. At the same time, companies such as Motorola, Samsung, LG, HTC and Asus were announced as partners.[11] On June 25, 2014, at Google I/O, the Samsung Gear Live and LG G Watch were launched, along with further details about Android Wear. Motorola's Moto 360 was released on September 5, 2014. On December 10, 2014, an update started to roll out that, among other new features, added a watch face API and changed the software to be based on Android 5.0 "Lollipop".[12]

Shape types of various launched devices include round, square and rectangular watch faces.

Launch devices include the Motorola Moto 360,[13] the LG G Watch,[14] and the Samsung Gear Live.[15] The LG G Watch and Gear Live started shipping in July 2014, while the Moto 360 did not start shipping until September 2014. The next batch of Android Wear devices, which arrived at the end of 2014, included the Asus ZenWatch,[16] the Sony SmartWatch 3,[17] and the LG G Watch R.[18] As of March 2015, the latest Android Wear devices are the LG Watch Urbane,[19] and the Huawei Watch.[20] Hardware manufacturing partners include ASUS, Broadcom, Fossil, HTC, Intel, LG, MediaTek, Imagination Technologies, Motorola, Qualcomm, and Samsung.[21]

In the first six-months of availability, Canalys estimates that over 720,000 Android Wear smartwatches were shipped.[22] As of May 15 2015, Android Wear now has between 1- and 5-million installations[23].



Users can find directions by voice from the phone, choose transport mode, including bike, and start a journey. While you’re traveling, the watch shows directions, and will actually use tactile interaction to indicate turns by feel, suiting travel without requiring one to look at a phone, or even watch screen. .


Via Google fit, and similar apps such as Moto Body, Android Wear supports ride and run tracking ("OK Google, start a run"), heart activity can be sampled automatically through the day or on demand ("OK Google, what's my heart rate"), step-counting, calorie expenditure etc. are all active. These features work within the Fit ecosystem (allowing integration with companion devices and apps such as Withings Smart Body scales for weight monitoring. The watch reinforces achievements with cards noting goal attainment, when a goal is near, summaries of heart, and body activity.

Media/Music Control

Users can use their AndroidWear Watch to control their phone. Music can be requested (for instance, "OK Google, play the Rolling Stones"). The screen then shows a card for play-control, volume, skip, media images. And music can be controlled from the wrist with the user free to move.


The Vibration Engine alerts users to important notifications. Users receive only notification from apps they allow to appear on the phone. Wear affords mutiple smart options for replying. Google Voice allows dictating responses to email (including third party mail apps like Type), spoken or drawn emoticons. For more extensive replies, the user can “Handoff” the reply to their phone or tablet (open on device).

Google Now notifications

Intelligent notifications from Google Now are supported including Traffic, Flights, Hotel-check-in, Meeting alerts, location- and time-based reminders, weather and sport, stocks, flight status, boarding passes, Restaurant bookings etc.


Incoming text messages, Hangouts etc. appear on the watch. The user can reply to these from the device by voice. Currently new SMS can be initiated from the watch.


Search by voice is fully supported. Google Now searches such as "How tall is Nicole Kidman" result in Knowledge Graph cards appearing on screen, with options to open the search result on another device.


Opening the Phone camera app, the user can control the shutter, and view photos on the watch. Third-party apps support using the phone camera as a streaming device, or more varied camera control.


Events appear as cards on screen. "OK Google, show my agenda" will display the user's agenda. Watch faces also support marking out appointments (for instance with contrasting color to show periods with an appointment, and/or illuminating a lighted "count-down" line for upcoming appointments.


Note taking is fully supported via Google Keep and other note-apps, as is marking-off check lists etc.

Set reminders, timers, alarms

Via voice commands such as "OK Google, remind me to call Roy at work", or "Remind me to baste the chicken in 25 minutes" the user can create location and time-based reminders, set alarms, timers etc. which appear on the watch at the appropriate time.

Third-party apps

A large universe of apps has appeared, with significant players such as Evernote etc. creating new functionality on the watch: for instance hand-off of notes to the watch screen when the user turns-off their phone screen. Location-based apps like FourSquare show Android Wear users suitable near-by venues, allow check-in etc.

See also


  1. ^ "Android Code Analysis". Retrieved June 6, 2012. 
  2. ^ "Philosophy and Goals". Android Open Source Project. Google. Archived from the original on 2014-10-17. Retrieved 2014-12-19. 
  3. ^ "libc – platform/bionic – Git at Google". Retrieved 2014-03-20. 
  4. ^ "android / platform/system/core / master / . / sh". Archived from the original on 2013-09-22. Retrieved 2014-08-24. 
  5. ^ "toolbox – platform/system/core – Git at Google". Retrieved 2014-03-20. 
  6. ^ "Developer Preview License Agreement | Android Developers". Retrieved 2014-03-20. 
  7. ^ "Licenses". Android Open Source Project. Open Handset Alliance. Retrieved 2012-09-09. The preferred license for the Android Open Source Project is the Apache Software License, 2.0. ... Why Apache Software License? ... For userspace (that is, non-kernel) software, we do in fact prefer ASL2.0 (and similar licenses like BSD, MIT, etc.) over other licenses such as LGPL. Android is about freedom and choice. The purpose of Android is promote openness in the mobile world, but we don't believe it's possible to predict or dictate all the uses to which people will want to put our software. So, while we encourage everyone to make devices that are open and modifiable, we don't believe it is our place to force them to do so. Using LGPL libraries would often force them to do so. 
  8. ^ Android Wear – Android Developers
  9. ^ "Google reveals Android Wear, an operating system for smartwatches". The Verge. Vox Media. 
  10. ^ "OK Google, tell me about Android Wear". 
  11. ^ "Motorola, LG announce upcoming Android Wear smartwatches". The Verge. Vox Media. 
  12. ^ Amadeo, Ron (10 December 2015). "Android Wear gets Lollipop update, adds watch face API, new features". Ars Technica. Conde Nast. Retrieved 17 January 2015. 
  13. ^ Tuesday, March 18, 2014 (2014-03-18). "Moto 360: It’s Time. - The Official Motorola Blog". Retrieved 2014-06-26. 
  14. ^ "LG introduces G Watch, first smartwatch running on Android Wear". 2014-03-18. Retrieved 2014-06-26. 
  15. ^ Jeffries, Adrianne. "This is the Gear Live, Samsung's $199 Android Wear smartwatch". The Verge. Retrieved 2014-06-26. 
  16. ^ "Phones - ASUS ZenWatch (WI500Q) - ASUS". 
  17. ^ "SmartWatch 3 SWR50". Sony Smartphones (Global UK English). 
  18. ^ "LG Newsroom". 
  19. ^ "LG Newsroom". 
  20. ^ Kellex (1 March 2015). "Huawei Makes the Huawei Watch Official, Other Wearables and a 7-Inch Phone Too". Droid Life. DRD Life Inc. Retrieved 3 March 2015. 
  21. ^ "Android Wear". Android Developers. Retrieved 3 March 2015. 
  22. ^ Just 720,000 Android Wear smartwatches shipped last year. Engadget. Retrieved 11 February 2015.
  23. ^ "Android Wear - Android Apps on Google Play". Retrieved 2015-05-25. 

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