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.



  • http://www.johncblandii.com John C. Bland II

    I think it is an excellent choice for one reason: battery. A watch needs true all-day battery and running apps on it will be problematic to that goal.

    Ideally, is there anything else you need it to do? I would assume not having a master around would mean it simply doesn’t get notifications but still functions as a watch. If so, that works but I wonder if you need a host for using Google Now voice search.

    Maybe the article answers this (don’t want to register) or time will tell.

    • Mojo jojo

      Having Google Now Voice Search working natively on the watch probably would require a separate 3G antenna, which would eat up the battery, and data plan, which would drive up the cost.

      I imagine this device has 0 connectivity unless paired with a smartphone.

  • GFYantiapplezealots

    These Google wearables look useless! If i’m going to be wearing something on my wrist all day it had better do something more than notifications and time.

  • invinciblegod

    I do not like that these screens will (supposedly) go to sleep and only light up when you move your wrist to a seeing position of some sort. Those sensor never work in all situations. What if you’re in a meeting and move just slightly to check the time? Need a super sensitive sensor then! But does that means it turns on everytime you walk? Less sensitive!