Wearable tech is here and all of the world’s biggest manufacturers are attempting to get in on the action with their own smartwatches. Google and Apple have both entered the fray, leading the way with wrist-mounted smart devices that each is hoping will become the next must-have gadget. But will Android Wear win the day, or does the Apple Watch look most likely to dominate this nascent marketplace?
Apple Watch Expectations
Launched in September of 2014, the Apple Watch is part fitness and fashion accessory, part communications device. And according to the latest rumours, it will not actually go on sale until the spring of 2015.
With a range of interchangeable straps and exterior designs to select, along with a host of interface options that will come from both first and third party sources, the Apple Watch definitely has the consumer market in its sights. As well as telling the time it will measure various physiological variables and synch with an iPhone to help people keep track of their bodies while they exercise, which should make it a hit in certain circles.
The Apple Watch may have had a lot of coverage at launch, but its delayed release and the questionable amount of demand for smartwatches could put a dent in its impact. Of course critics doubted whether the iPad would sell well when it was announced back in 2010, so it is not sensible to discount Apple’s chances in this emerging tech segment.
Android Wear Potential
While Apple has yet to fully join the smartwatch market, Google has been experimenting in this area for some time, with devices based on its Android Wear platform already on sale. Samsung and LG have created high profile smartwatches running Android Wear, and like the Apple Watch you will need to link them to a smartphone via Bluetooth to make the most of their capabilities.
The interface of Android Wear has been pared down to fit on a smaller touchscreen display, with menu items and object assigned to cards so that users can flip between the things they need and find out everything from the time of day to the weather forecast in quick succession.
There are third party apps available and sites like http://www.bugfinders.com/ can help developers identify issues before they are released through software testing, although the clutch of software for Android wear is still very small compared to the full catalogue of Google Play on smartphones.
Notifications and alerts for messages, calls and other interactions can be accessed from an Android Wear smartwatch, letting users get a quick overview of updates without having to pull their handset out of their pockets. And location-based setting adjustments allow it to automatically stay up to date with what a user is doing, with remote control capabilities for other gadgets being rolled out via additional apps.
Both Apple and Google have created promising smartwatch options for those who are interested in investing and adopting this type of gadget now. But while smartphones and tablets have become essential since their rise to prominence, it feels like wearable tech might take a little more time to establish itself in the same way.