Android Wear: Everything You Need to Know About Google Smartwatches

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Google I/O is always one of the biggest tech events of the year, but this year’s just may have been one of the company’s most monumental events yet.

When Google announced its wearable operating system, Android Wear, earlier in the year we were all pretty excited over the possibilities and what could be done with it. Now it appears the game is heating up with devices finally hitting the market. As announced at Google I/O, the first round of watches we are getting include both the LG G Watch and Samsung Live Gear. Both are officially available to order right now.

At I/O, Google made its intentions very clear, it wants a place in your living room, car, and on your wrists. Your phone isn’t enough anymore and it did a heck of a job promoting Android Wear at every as a means of connecting your smartphone to your watch and always staying in the know with just a glance.

This isn’t just to check the time, you’ll be able to send texts, check your schedule, or get weather updates to name a few. Most notably, this is all voice operated through the “OK Google” command. The software that was shown off was primarily just a lighter version of Android Wear to shown some of the simple functionality. But let’s get into those watches!

LG G Watch

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LG’s G Watch is one of the first devices out of the blocks running Android Wear, with the prototypes first unveiled to the world at LG 2014 earlier this year in the UK. According to LG, the square design

The slim design G Watch has a 1.65-inch screen display and is all backed up by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor, 1.2GHz CPU, 512MB of RAM and 4GB memory. People racing to the Google Play store to order have a choice of colors in black titan and white gold and is priced at $230.

The “always-on” display is all part of Google’s wider plans for connecting every aspect of your day-to-day life but raises questions over the battery life. The LG G Watch comes with a 400mAh battery; for reference, the new HTC One M8 has a 2600mAh battery. LG promises that its battery can last a single day on one charge but once you get going with your new smartwatch, this promise will surely be put to the test.

Samsung Gear Live

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Samsung Gear Live’s sAMOLED screen means a pristine display on your wrist and is a little less square than the utilitarian G Watch. It runs a less powerful battery than the LG G Watch though, with just a 300Mah battery but still promises a full day’s use. Other features like the processor and memory are relatively the same between the two watches. However, where the Gear Live differs is its slightly lower price tag at $200.

There’s no doubt that one of the biggest selling points for wearables is monitoring your health and fitness. Apple and Google are making plays for this arena respectively and unsurprisingly, watches like Samsung Gear Live is loaded with these kind of features such as a heart rate monitor, accelerometer, and gyroscope. Furthermore, with Google Health also being announced at Google I/O, you’re sure to see plenty of apps make use of the device’s sensors.

Both watches boast water and dust resistance, specifically IP67 resistance, which has become a standard for smartphones and carries the same ingress protection as the Samsung Galaxy S5. Samsung Live Gear and LG G Watch are first in the door but many are still waiting for the release of Motorola’s Moto 360 later this summer and it’s possibly the most anticipated Android Wear device yet.

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There is one more smartwatch that was mentioned on stage at Google I/O, and judging by the unanimous boos from the crowd at the reaction that its release date would be delayed shows that it’s the one everyone is waiting for. The first thing that grabs your attention about the Moto 360 is its shape and look, resembling a traditional watch. It shows that wearable manufacturers are getting a better grasp of style and design to complement the functions and creating something people might actually like to wear.

Unfortunately, unlike the other two smartwatches, the Moto 360 is low on details ahead of its release. We have no concrete details on things like battery life, memory, health monitoring functions, and perhaps most importantly, the price. Based on how well-crafted the Moto 360 is, it is probably safe to assume that it will be the most premium and expensive of the three.

Smartwatches are, of course, only the first stage in this new age of wearable technology—and we are sure to see a whole host of options come out by the end of the year. Whether or not that includes an offering from Apple is still up in the air, but at least we know we’ll have at least three solid Android options in 2014.

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