Wearable Tech World Feature Article
April 20, 2015

Android Wear Devices Function When Away From Smartphone

While smart watches are becoming hot tech products in the wake of the launch of the Apple Watch, Apple’s main competitor, Google, is responding with Android Wear, according to Wired magazine.

Android Wear devices are standing out because of one feature: the ability to work while the user is far away from a smartphone. Android Wear devices can connect to a user’s smartphone as long as it is connected to a Wi-Fi network.

Android Wear has had a year’s head start on the Apple Watch, so it’s not exactly a response, but the Wi-Fi feature is new. The connectivity means that it’s possible to leave a smartphone at home and use an Android Wear watch exclusively.

Like its parent smartphone platform, there are already a number of Android Wear devices available from a variety of manufacturers.

Mobile platforms are nothing without apps, and there are already some available for Android Wear. One lets users send emoji to each other by drawing with their fingers on the watch.

Google has allowed the apps to stay running all the time in a low-power mode, coming to the foreground when they’re needed. In contrast, the Apple Watch resets when the user puts an app away.

This illustrates the difference in philosophy between the two platforms: Android is aiming for power and functionality, while Apple aims for simplicity.

Google Wear also shows how pop culture influences tech design. While the earlier generation of flip phones appeared to take after the communicator in the “Star Trek” TV series, and the smartphone design appeared to be influenced by the tricorder, the smart watch is clearly influenced by the “Dick Tracy” comic strip and the watch the titular detective used to communicate.

Since the watch can function as a complete replacement for a smartphone it’s bringing science fiction closer to reality.

Edited by Maurice Nagle

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