tting the ‘smart’ in ‘smartwatch’: showcases Android ar’s contextual awareness

BY GreenBot Staff

Published 25 Jun 2014

You’ll never have to talk to a person to order pizza, or embarrass yourself by not knowing what mburger cheese is, once you strap an Android ar watch to your wrist. At least that’s the promise delivered by David Singleton, ’s director of engineering for Android, during the I/O keynote on dnesday.

In taking the wraps off Android ar, Singleton focused on its features, which are designed to give you glanceable yet actionable information at contextually appropriate times with simple swipe–voice navigation. But he also dropped some news on when we’ll be able to have Android ar on our own wrists: The G tch newly announced Samsung’s Gear ve are both available for preorders starting dnesday on the ay Store, the round Moto 360 will go on sale later this summer. “Those are just the first three watches,” Singleton said. “There are many more on the way.”

at a glance

ople check their phones 125 times a day on average, Singleton explained. So Android ar wants to give you all that information but in a way that’s quicker more immediate than digging out your phone, so you can get back to what you’re doing.

Android ar will surface the cards it thinks are most important—like a flight later on today.

Android ar shows you Now style cards, you navigate between them with up–down swipes, or swipe them offscreen to dismiss. If a card wants to show you more information than fits on your watch screen, it’ll display a page indicator that you can swipe to get more details.

The cards use the new Material Design announced dnesday for Android /a> to add a feeling of depth—they appear to be floating ever so slightly above the background images. On a typical day, you might get a card for your local weather forecast, your commute time, a package shipment, so on.

en demonstrating that package-tracking card, Singleton added a geofenced reminder to himself, by simply speaking to his Android ar watch: “OK , remind me to check the mail box when I get home.” That reminder was immediately synced back to his Android phone. You can also leave yourself voice notes (although that demo didn’t work on stage) ask questions, in case you need help identifying unfamiliar stinky cheeses on a restaurant menu you’re too shy to ask the waiter but not too shy to ask your watch.

Swipe through cards just how you would on your Android phone. Notifications you dismiss from the watch disappear from your phone, too.

Android ar watches will vibrate when you receive a phone call on your paired Android smartphone, letting you swipe to reject the call from your watch, or swipe up to send a quick-reply SMS message. If you’re going into a meeting don’t want your watch buzzing or lighting up, just swipe down from the top of the screen to turn on Do Not Disturb mode.

Turn-by-turn walking directions on your watch is another hy feature of Android ar.

Now is amazing when traveling, your Android ar watch can keep you updated on your flight status, show the QR code on your boarding pass, your hotel address when you l, the local weather, restaurant reservations, local transit schedules, even what time it is back home.

The notifications won’t be limited to smartwatches; at a dnesday afternoon session at I/O, othy , a developer advocate at , said that
Glass users will get the same notifications as Android ar in the next few months.

Developers can ar it too

But apps notifications aren’t limited to Now—the cards on your Android ar watch can come from apps on your phone or even on the watch itself. Android developers can use the Android ar SDK to write apps directly for the watch, or use the new As in Services to send data between a watch an Android phone tablet.

If you have Eat24 on your Android phone, its Android ar component will be on your watch too.

For example, Eat24 has an Android app that lets you order delivery takeout food. The developers can bundle a wearable app inside the main Android app, it’ll be installed to your Android ar watch— automatically kept updated—when you install the main app to your phone. unch it, you can reorder your last few Eat24 meals with just a few taps. Singleton gleefully ordered a pizza from the stage in less than 20 seconds.

Social recipe app lthecooks has an Android ar component too—as you swipe through the steps of a recipe on screen, the recipe on your phone advances a step so it’s always in sync. And when a step calls for a timer, that number is highlighted blue on the watch you can just tap it to start the clock.

Apps can stay in sync between an Android ar watch the phone app, such as recipes from lthecooks.

Developers will be able to use the sensors in each Android ar watch, as well as the voice comm. The ft app will let you say, “OK , call me a car,” for example. ft on the watch grabs your location from your phone, you can verify that with a tap, track the car’s progress to you, even rate your driver all from your wrist.

Updated at 4:20 p.m. to note that similar notifications will come to Glass.