Google watches and wearables will not run developer code, are notification devices

From Seeking Alpha (free reg-wall):

Google (GOOG) has announced ‘Android Wear’, a new extension of Android to power smart watches (it also realised some teaser renders of Motorola smart watches that are due for this summer). The Wear concept is that smart watches are remote touch displays for an Android smartphone. They will show the time, accept touch and voice input, display the Google Now feed and they will display all the notifications that apps on your phone produce.

Developers have options (which will be enhanced in future) to customise how the notifications their phone apps produce behave on the watch. But they don’t get native code at all – the developer isn’t running code on the watch, really. The device is really an extension of the phone’s Android OS itself, not an extension of your app.

In effect, the watch is a device for using Google Now and cards that apps on the phone send to it.

This is an interesting model. It means that a Google watch is a satellite device that locks you in to the Google ecosystem. Since the watch without the phone is just a wrist-watch, or less, if it does not have the built in smarts to do its watch and alarm thing without its master.

This is a chess move on Google’s part. If you’ve not had the chance, take a read of John Gruber’s ecosystem chess game post. I think he’s got it exactly right. This is an ecosystem chess match, locking in consumers to a particular ecosystem, making escape as difficult as possible.

If and when Apple comes out with an iWatch or other wearable, will it run iOS? Will it be a satellite device that is simply a tunable funnel for notifications?

There’s a lot at stake in this particular chess match.