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Android coming to wearables (googleblog.blogspot.com)
412 points by deepblueocean on March 18, 2014 | hide | past | favorite | 201 comments

I am in the position of being torn apart by two very strong feelings. One is the world where information flow due to companies like Google does a real service to humanity: for e.g. wearing devices that can keep us reminded of our meds or monitor sugar levels, to talk just about the possibilities in healthcare. Then I think of Edward Snowden and I now know that what Google knows, maybe America/Russia/China/WhatHaveYou know. Although at this point I am as normal a citizen as you can find, that can't be taken for granted forever. For e.g. in my nation (India) being gay is illegal and so is marijuana, and so is alcohol (in some states) and so is a lot of stuff. This feeling makes me want to minimize my footprint.

Wish there was a way to combat either the wariness, or to exacerbate the joy. For, I must be assimilated into the Borg, too. :)

EDIT: spellings

More and more I'm thinking that some sort of Digital Bill of Rights is necessary to carry on in this technological-based World. At first I always thought of it as a nice thing, but perhaps a little too abstract or extreme to really do what it needs to do. However now we have some very large and real threats to our personal lives via this medium.

I just feel like it makes a lot of good sense to produce something of the sort. I'm also naive enough to believe that it isn't too late to attempt to establish such a document and have it not contain all sorts of loopholes that would render it useless.

I can understand why the feds want to monitor the Internet and various communications, however there needs to be that pushback, that line drawn where we can hold their overreach accountable. It may not always work, but there needs to be something that us ordinary citizens can lean back on for protection.

Call me defeatist, but when I see an existing Bill of Rights being violated so frequently and carelessly, I don't think a new Bill of Rights would be a solution.

I find the existing bill of rights quite adequate. We don't really need anything new, maybe an amendment here and there but in reality most of today's issues are already covered, they're just being utterly violated and nobody seems to realize as the ap has so eloquently demonstrated.

It has always been violated, fortunately we have organizations that take up various fights and do what they can in order to re-establish some sort of order.

Unfortunately while it doesn't always work out, that doesn't mean you scrap the whole idea.

Currently us citizens literally have nothing to combat our Government essentially having their way with the Internet to get at our data. This is an issue to both the individual but also groups/companies.

We need something, anything to use for defense.

One approach would be to require that a person/group/company that is aggregating information report the storage and use of the information to the people in the database.

You could have some arbitrary cutoffs, like don't worry about information on less than 1000 people or stored less than 3 months (or whatever numbers you want to pick out of the air, the point is that the threshold for reporting might not be 0).

What I think this might do in many cases is make storing the information more expensive than any value derived from it. It also gives people a chance to learn that the water company is sharing their usage with the police (or whatever).

I've been thinking of this for a while my self. Would it be wrong to assume that git hub would be a suitable platform to start something like this? A lot of thought needs to be put into it by a lot of people and I don't think it necessarily needs any support from any particular government or organization. It needs to be a straight forward document that outlines the rights of people in the digital age, and if it does this in a well written, understandable way, it will gain support from the right people and something will come of it.

This is a (very) short story I wrote a while ago that is semi related: http://pastebin.com/raw.php?i=eRNQYx21

It could serve as a good spot to start, a document like this if it is going to be collaborated on will require versioning at the least to keep track of changes made.

However, something like this should probably start on something that is much more approachable by your average citizen.

Folks that visit Hacker News and work in tech have a decent understanding of the issues, however the masses are still on the outside looking in with regards to comprehension. The platform to deliver this message really needs to be insanely user friendly.

I think a Digital bill of rights is great, but completely unenforceable. Largely because the powers that would be enforcing it wouldn't desire to be signatories.

That's just one of the issues - however like I said, I'm naive enough to believe (and donate/protest/assemble) if there was a strong enough movement for it.

Digital Bill of Rights? Ask rms about that one ... even I don't know if i'm joking.

> in my nation (India) being gay is illegal

Sorry for the flame material, but why is it that this is rarely mentioned in western news media (at least in the countries whose news I follow)?

For those who, like me, didn't know that: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homosexuality_in_India

It is odd - there was uproar around the Russian propaganda laws regarding Homosexual relationships running up to the winter olympics (and rightly so! I am not suggesting otherwise). Yet, I (who, perhaps arrogantly, consider myself fairly well informed) had absolutely no idea that homosexuality is illegal in India. This is wtf-worthy.

This was the case in something like 15 us States until the Supreme Court struck it down.... In 2003. (far more States are included if you go back just another decade)


Not only that, but homosexuality is actually completely legal in Russia.

The law that everyone was in uproar about is that in Russia you're not allowed to promote non-traditional sexual relationships.

Yet in what many claim is a 'free' country (India), homosexuality it outlawed outright.

Funny how propaganda works.

What is a free country?

You can pick your criteria but please try to make it adequate and generic Then name one free country on this planet.

Such media campaigns are only for enemies of the US, not for allies like India or Saudi Arabia. (where the punishment for having homosexual intercourse is death by beheading)

If it comes to being an ally and India has to choose between US and Russia, is it that hard to guess who it will choose? You can also sample the latest example.

I am tired of all similar conspiracy theories posted the last week in .se comment fields with very bad Swedish. I am going to answer this.

If Russia was mistreated in Western media, Putin would have been burned in effigy every day for a decade in every city in the west over e.g. this:


"On October 21, 1999, a series of Russian ballistic missile strikes on central Grozny killed at least 137 people, mostly civilians, and injured hundreds. The missiles hit the city's main marketplace, a maternity hospital and a mosque."

And other points listed on that page, which has never really been discussed in western media.

But I guess Wikipedia, HRW et al are in on Obama's homosexual conspiracy? :-)

It's a matter of how things are moving.

Homosexuality has been illegal in India. No change no uproar. Russia's laws have moved things bavkwards.

Look at what happened in Uganda.

India got quite a lot of criticism in the press for this at the time, and rightly so, but it dropped out of the news after a month or two because there was nothing new happening. Expect more press attention when there's news. (I doubt the Russian laws would've gotten so much attention if the Russian government didn't continually do things that drew attention to them.)

It's really incompetence.

The issue went to the supreme court and they said this matter is for the legislature to decide.

The good thing (unlike Russia) is that almost everyone from the ruling government, media, public, etc want this law abolished.

Sadly that is not true. The right-wing party, that will most likely win the upcoming elections, will never approve an amendment to change this through parliament. The judge that reverted the supreme court decision if fully aware of this and it was a political decision on his side.

Actually, what's really illegal is "carnal intercourse against the order of nature" which covers oral and anal sex - both heterosexual and homosexual.

Who on earth made that law? I mean seriously, what rational, feeling human being thinks: "Oral Sex? Ew! No thank you! Best make that illegal!"

There's a world view I can't imagine.

The law was made by the British govt in line with the victorian era ethos (remember Alan Turing?). Many of the british laws were carried over when India became independent in 1947.

When this law came up for review in the supreme court this year, it ruled that since the law criminalizes actions, not persons, it is not discriminatory and hence, not unconstitutional. As you can imagine, this was a very controversial judgment. But as things stand now, the supreme court has passed the ball back to the parliament to repeal/amend the law.

I am not sure when exactly the original law was amended in Britain.

It was made by the British rulers in 1861. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Section_377_of_the_Indian_Pena...

Sadly, while the British have since got rid of the prudery, it continues here.

The government in power is keen to have the Supreme court strike it down, to avoid any voting backlash from the conservative population.

While one of the courts did strike it down, the Supreme Court later put the ball back into the Parliament's court, saying that only the Parliament can use its legislative powers to get rid of the law.

Thankfully, there have been very few convictions under the law, but it has been used for harassment of some people.

I dunno if you're from/in the US, but this kind of view is a lot closer to. home than you'd think. Go back ten years and a dozen or two states had similar laws, and needed to be forced by the Supreme Court to invalidate them (go back a bit further and the number jumps).


> I mean seriously, what rational, feeling human being thinks:

Christian, esp the various puritan sub-sects. Oral sex being socially acceptable is relatively new. 40yrs or less. As a kid in 70's I'd get in trouble for saying "suck". My parents considered it an obscene word as bad as "fuck".

This kind of thing exists to this day even in the US:

"Georgia code section 16-6-2 provides a 1 to 20 year mandatory sentence for any adults consenting to "any sexual act involving the sex organs of one person and the mouth or anus of another". Married couples are not excluded from this law." -http://wiki.answers.com/Q/How_many_US_states_is_Fellatio_ill...

All of these laws were completely struck down in a Supreme Court decision in 2003[1]. Georgia also struck down their specific one earlier in 1998 [2].



Judges in any of those state, bound by the Supremacy clause, will have to throw out those cases following Lawrence v Texas. If they won't do it, a federal court will be glad to do it on their behalf.

Define "nature".

Afaik several species beyond our own do oral/anal sex.

It was accepted in India for some time and then suddenly the apex court reversed the ruling saying "unnatural sex" (same gender sex) is prohibited by the constitution. This was odd as our apex court doesn't really take such steps. Then it dawned upon me that it was merely interpreting the constitution. That part of the constitution is a legacy law from the time of the British occupation. Unfortunately we have not yet changed it. I don't see it being changed in the near future either, because the party that is supposed to gain majority in this general election is a "conservative" party basing most of their policy off religion.

> why is it that this is rarely mentioned in western news media

It is mentioned in Western media. Also in India you are not prosecuted for being a gay or homosexual unless you bring to the out in the open (I am not defending the culture). Which means you can't usually do girl-girl/guy-guy making out in the public. Hell, you can't even do girl-guy making out in the open. This is covered by some "indecency laws". So, basically it's like there's no witch-hunt on for gays and lesbians even though you declare that you are a homosexual.

Now when someone says this country has a lot lot bigger issues to fix before fixing issues of homosexuality, please don't pounce on him/her because that's true (IMO).

I find myself also questioning this often. It leads to me regularly switching between iOS and Android, Google services and Apple services. Ideally I would like privacy but I think as we go forward keeping privacy would leave you in the same kind of position someone like RMS is in by sticking to his Free Software philosophy so strongly.

I'm always surprised at the number of friends and family I see who have their Facebook set to public - especially considering what they post. When I tell them they don't care. I think the majority of people want some semblance of privacy but they are willing to give up a lot for the efficiency these new products, that require us to give up privacy, provide.

> It leads to me regularly switching between iOS and Android

Is this only because of the app permissions model? AFAIK, other than that, Android per se isn't any less privacy-oriented than iOS. iOS apps also much more commonly retrieve various user data and marginally more often send data around unencrypted.

It's because I find Android works best when using Google's services and as I'm not paying for those (and they are using my info to sell ads) I trust Apple more to protect my data (it's in their interest).

Aren't Google's ad monetization practices fairly transparent? You can see all the data collected in the dashboard, you can see how ads are targeted under the ad settings.

It seems like people are alluding to Google's data usage as some sort of black box where it seems pretty open to me.

Their practices are fairly transparent, they show me that they sell my info in a way that I dislike.

Except they don't. They sell your potential clicks.

Selling info is a misnomer.

Ah OK so you were considering android and Google services together. I assumed they were easily extricable but I've never used android without Google so I suppose that assumption may be incorrect.

That being said, I don't really understand the assumption that Apple would be a good steward of personal data. As someone else alluded to on this thread, it came out _years_ ago that Apple was collecting fine grained location logs and storing them in a fully readable (unencrypted) file on each ios device (and I believe on any computer that the phone was synced to). I can't think of any behavior in Android that's even close to as egregious as that, for me.

What about your ISP? What about your network provide? Do you trust them?

And if it's in Apple's interest to protect your data, it's in Google's interest all the more to protect your data - because they do make money of some of it. Also, they have a very public declaration of what they do with the data, how they are stored and how long. With Apple, I have no fucking idea.

Also, when it comes to security, Apple has no stellar record - their's have been slow and callow approach to security (and security by obscurity).

Weren't they recently caught silently logging GPS coordinates and transmitting them once the phone was connected to a computer? How is it not in there interest to utilize personalized data?

> It leads to me regularly switching between iOS and Android, Google services and Apple services.

The difference between Apple and Google has recently occurred to me: with Apple, their secrets are in jeopardy. With Google, yours are.

I feel the only reason your secrets may not be in jeopardy with Apple is because they don't know as many... If you really want your secrets to be safe you wouldn't use any closed source code at all and would take security precautions to secure the code you do use. Unfortunately we live in a time when closed-source software is the norm and too many people think having a secure, open, communications infrastructure is too complicated and don't quite understand the reasoning behind it (thankfully that attitude seems to be changing a little), but I hope one day we'll look back on this time and wonder what we were thinking by allowing digital goods to be closed source.

With 3D printers, neural implants, augmented reality, food and organ printers, and the age of automation, what the future holds is a digital realm that's going to be very scary for people who understand it, especially if the infrastructure is completely owned by corporations and un-trustable governments and even a small amount of the source is closed. I mean look around the room and think of all the things that could be augmented or replaced with 3D printed components.. Why have a physical laptop in front of you when you can augment the key board, 25 screens, and everything else? Not only that, but you can do it for nothing if you know how to code it.

We can already print organs and I don't think it will be too long until we can print good tasting food, but what if you execute some code on your food printer that prints a steak with anthrax in it? I think in the next 50 years all this is going to be fairly common place in the developed world and I really hope I have confidence in the system that we have in place at that time.

> I feel [...] at that time.

Wow ... 313 words without a single line feed.

Sorry. Fixed.

>but I hope one day we'll look back on this time and wonder what we were thinking by allowing digital goods to be closed source

Yes, let's have the government mandate what license your code should have! Facepalm.


> In Comments

>Be civil. Don't say things you wouldn't say in a face to face conversation.

>When disagreeing, please reply to the argument instead of calling names. E.g. "That is an idiotic thing to say; 1 + 1 is 2, not 3" can be shortened to "1 + 1 is 2, not 3."

Public facing code shouldn't be closed source. Sure, if you want to run something on your own and for your self, you don't have to share that with anyone, but when you put something out into the wild that can't be conclusively shown to not be malicious it should be treated like malware.

Edit: and also, what do you think the government should do for the people when it comes to digital rights? Or do you believe corporations know what's best? I for one don't believe in either.

I am sorry if that offended you but I take issue with the idea that adding more restrictions improves freedom. If you want to download possible malware that is your choice.

> I take issue with the idea that adding more restrictions improves freedom.

Yes, but that isn't an idea the OP posted, it's an idea that you posted. A discussion of software license types doesn't automatically lead to either a preference for one kind of license over another, or the idea of governmental involvement. Those were things you made up on your own.

> If you want to download possible malware that is your choice.

Both closed and open-source code are susceptible to malware. The issues of licensing and malware are orthogonal. Closed-source code should in principle prevent malware, but it's quite obvious that it doesn't. Open-source, by being visible and readable, should reveal any vulnerabilities and prevent malware, but that doesn't work either, primarily because the more interesting vulnerabilities aren't obvious to someone reading the code.

Which means your argument is just an argument.

He was arguing that closed source software should be disallowed. Who else but the government is going to make such rules? Yes I brought freedom into it. I agree that both open and closed will have malware, so what is the point of banning closed software if not "freedom"?

> He was arguing that closed source software should be disallowed.

He did not make this argument. He argued that closed source has serious drawbacks -- he never suggested that it should be "disallowed". Find the word or an equivalent word -- but you must find it in his posts, not yours.

If I complain about women, am I saying they should be disallowed? Only to someone who invents positions for other people, then proceeds to object to the positions he has invented.

> Who else but the government is going to make such rules?

Is Apple under government mandate to have a closed-source system? Is Red Hat under government mandate to have an open-source system? Neither is true. The government is not involved at all, in any way, period.

> Yes I brought freedom into it.

Yes, you did, after inventing arguments no one made, using claims about society that aren't part of reality.

> ... so what is the point of banning closed software if not "freedom"?

You fabricated this entire argument out of whole cloth. No one advocated "banning closed software", no one brought up government, no one brought up freedom. These are all parts of your private fantasy.

I'm scared by the idea that I could one day have a neural implant with closed source code running on some insecure network all because the people of this time were too dumb to realize how software could affect them.

Perhaps we should have laws that guarantee some form of open-ness but allow closed source code to exist on some sort of semi-to-fully-anonymous fully-encrypted secondary communications network?

> I'm scared by the idea that I could one day have a neural implant with closed source code running on some insecure network all because the people of this time were too dumb to realize how software could affect them.

It's a reasonable concern. People have already been injured and killed by software errors, both open and closed, so this is definitely on the table as a reasonable issue.

> Perhaps we should have laws that guarantee some form of open-ness but allow closed source code to exist on some sort of semi-to-fully-anonymous fully-encrypted secondary communications network?

My view is that we should let people sort this out without government involvement. Right now there are open-source companies and closed-source companies, and people get to vote with their feet. If closed-source causes problems or is more expensive or whatever, people can choose the alternative. Same with open-source.

There are any number of cases where government involvement turned out to be counterproductive, and I think this might be one of them. Remember that government can't just bust in and start issuing orders, they have to be invited by the voters. And sometimes, if things go wrong, they get voted out again.

Freedom of speech -- clearly a government issue. Open-source versus closed-source software -- sorry, how this is a government issue doesn't immediately occur to me.

> Yes, let's have the government mandate what license your code should have! Facepalm.

Hey -- even when people freely choose which license code should have, there are still better and worse choices. There's no essential role for government, and the OP didn't suggest that.

Also, according to my favorite theory of modern society, governments find out what people are going to do anyway, order them to do it, then try to take credit for the result. So (if this theory has any substance) governmental involvement is more illusory than real.

I'm curious on this thought , care to expand ?

I just notice that Apple often finds themselves in court, suing someone (usually a company) for trying to steal one of their (corporate) secrets. And Google is often in court, defending themselves against someone (or a group) suing them for trying to steal their (personal) secrets.

It might all be more balanced in reality, it's just an impression from online articles.

if you want to call patent trolling protecting company secrets thats questionable. As soon as you issue a patent its no longer a secret.

>I'm always surprised at the number of friends and family I see who have their Facebook set to public - especially considering what they post.

I think that's actually smart. In reality the privacy setting on Facebook has no real effect on privacy, because companies and the NSA will still get your information. You might as well treat everything you post on Facebook as public.

> because companies

Which companies?

> the NSA

You mean, law enforcement agencies who specifically request your information with a subpoena?

> I'm always surprised at the number of friends and family I see who have their Facebook set to public - especially considering what they post.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe they are set to public by default... in fact, IIRC they even reset everyone to public when they released that "feature" a couple of years ago.

> When I tell them they don't care. I think the majority of people want some semblance of privacy but they are willing to give up a lot for the efficiency these new products, that require us to give up privacy, provide.

Sure, and smokers are willing to risk a slow painful death to forgo the pain of quitting. Humans are short-term thinkers.

Watch out, because it's a common (and extremely dangerous) misconception that personal data abuses afflict only people who are perceived (or perceive theirselves) as criminal.

There are two reasons.

First, legal systems with an excessive power in the hands of the prosecution can take an ordinary, civil citizen, and legally rape him (this description was used some time ago on an HN article)

Second, anybody that lives a regular life has secrets to hide; this is just a fact. And that secrets will be abused if it would be instrumental to the authorities.

I've said "extremely dangerous" - why? Because data collection today is considered/perceived/felt as a big nuisance, but not much more.

In reality, it's an oppression instrument, and it's not perceived by the general population just because they're not in prominent positions towards the government.

Don't forget that even if you believe you can trust the entity collecting the information, can you trust all the persons that have access to it? Is it inconceivable to believe that people who work for the Chinese government have never sold top secret data to US officials or even corporations? Why couldn't an NSA employee do the same thing? What if the NSA's servers weren't as secure as they thought they were?

We're in a situation comparable to smartphones pre-iPhone: we know there is value in displaying stuff on your wrist, we know we need some way to send information in response to those received from the screen, but all of this doesn't click together. We have fragments of a solution, but we don't know which problem it solves, and certainly not how to integrate it into a life-enhancing experience.

Smartphone builders had similarly vague ideas about which problem they were solving: they knew they needed to give access to some dumbed-down subset of the web and of our computer data. They knew that mails were part of that subset. Mail is easy, it's SMS with a different transport protocol, right? So they were looking for a dumbed-down keyboard, dumbed-down mouse, dumbed-down windows, scrollbars, etc.

The iPhone took a mile-high view of the problem. "Dumbed-down mice (stylus) and keyboards suck. How do we make them superfluous? And how do we get adequate access to non-dumbed-down Internet, too?"

Now with the watch. We have some vague fragments too. We know when we don't want to take our phone out, so in each of those cases we plan to use the watch as a dumbed-down phone screen. It's probably touch-sensitive, too (in a dumbed-down way no doubt), and it lets you awkwardly have a subset of the interactions you'd have had with your phone. So, I bet that watch is nothing but a dumbed-down proxy of our phone.

I'm still waiting for someone, not unlikely Apple, to show me what I really wanted from a smart watch, without realizing it. And if apple figured this out as well as they figured out the smartphone, the Google-wearable guys will kick themselves during the demo, the way the Android guys decomposed themselves while Jobs was showing them what they should have done.

Looking at all these things -- workmate has a Galaxy Gear, I've got a Pebble, another friend has a Basis B1 -- they're all so tall and clunky. They're uncomfortable and not particularly useful. The obvious answer, IMHO, is just a phone on your arm. I'm looking forward to the device that stops trying to pack things into a watch form-factor; that makes use of curved OLED displays, and puts a longer, thinner device on my wrist.

That said -- I've sort of thought for a while that the display should actually be decoupled from the device. I have a phone, a kindle, a smartwatch and a laptop -- all of which have separate user accounts, need cloud syncing (blech) and in general are a PITA to manage. I'd much prefer it if I had a computer on my wrist, which could wirelessly connect to external displays (Miracast?), and make use of them. So, my phone, kindle, laptop -- even a new tablet! -- are all just differing views of the same actual computer.

I hope that the idea of separating I/O from computing gains traction in the next few years. Dropbox, Google Docs/Drive, app stores, etc. all prove that there's demand for true cloud computing at the hardware level (unlike the web-based kludges currently offered).

I'm imagining a world where monitors, keyboards, touchscreens, etc. are all just dumb devices with a network connection, interfacing with a nearby server, which acts as a hypervisor platform for nearby peoples' operating systems (which might 'follow' a person from home, to work, to the grocery store). Brushing aside privacy issues, it almost seems feasible - and infinitely preferable to the fragmented mess we have now.

I think that's a really good point to make with wearable computing in general.

And assuming power/computing requirements are able to satisfy the technical demands in 5-10 years, I can imagine small breakouts in eye-wear, wristwatches, and if I look a bit farther (10-20 years), I can imagine it breaking out to the clothing market.

But I'd have to say I'm more intrigued into how traditionally ephemeral everyday situations will be cataloged and increasingly available for everyone else to see, where the battles will arise, where the new opportunities will lie, and what social systems will be shaken up.

I want the watch from They Live so I can lift my wrist up to my head and summon the secret alien police.

The thing is, hardware is key here. The OS matters, and I would bet that someone could do way better than running Linux in a watch (something much more low-level on a much weaker processor could extend the battery life significantly).

The hardware and sensors is the big problem. Currently, the best smartwatch specs I have seen are the Basis B1. It claims it can monitor your heart rate, track your sleep, etc. But that is all a lie. Sure, it can track your heart rate at rest, but during intensive exercise there is no comparison with something like a Polar chest strap. At the same time the claim that the B1 can monitor your sleep phase based on your heart rate is a bit far fetched as well. From what I've read the heart rate does not change by more than 1-2 bpm between REM and deep sleep, which is within the margin of error of the measurements, so the data out will be all wrong. As for the non-fitness functions of a smart watch, I don't see a huge value in having my wrist buzz every time a random ticket on GitHub gets updated or NewRelic sends me a performance metrics summary. Even text messages are much easier to process on the phone.

I want to believe in the smartwatch idea. I want it to be a gadget that somehow improves my daily life. So far, aside from things like the Garmin Forerunner, I haven't see anything that would remotely come close to improving anything.

I disagree, we already have watches with weak processors (e.g Pebble) but they lack features. Android can bring those, and ARM processors are powerful enough.

Indeed, the only difference between an Android watch and a full-size smartphone would be the smaller casing. The largest component nowadays is the battery, which can be greatly reduced thanks to the smaller screen.

So, I don't see a major obstacle to an Android watch, and the benefits of it are worth the CPU. Of course temperature will be a concern but I'm sure demand will produce lower-powered CPUs powerful enough to run Android.

A watch that aim supposed to wear 24 hours a day cannot runout of battery every three days. Give me two months of battery life on an ARM device that is smaller than an average cheeseburger and I will be impressed.

I'm excited about receiving short messages on my watch. My wife for example gets kind of upset when I misplace my phone somewhere on a table or in my backpack on vibrate - having a way for her to contact me in case of emergencies or whatever (since she's the only person I don't mind interrupting me) would be great. A watch would also be practical when walking or bicycling around the city in case you need maps - way more practical than keeping your hand occupied with a big ass phone. Also, I find Google Now alerts on time to work or similar stuff to be useless, as I'm not really keeping an eye on my phone. Being notified that it takes 30 minutes to get somewhere I need to be, suddenly starts seeming useful.

Personally I'm excited about this and I hate being interrupted, but as will all things, with a little care you can filter out things you don't want.

> OS matters, and I would bet that someone could do way better than running Linux in a watch

There's tremendous value inherent in using a mainstream operating system, while the disadvantages are only short-term. Using a half-assed operating system widens the gap between idea to implementation and this friendliness to exploration and being general purpose is what makes smartphones these days great.

I'm far more interested in how we're going to solve issues like battery life with these devices than how they're going to look. So yes, this preview looks great. But for now I still consider my Pebble watch to be a much better option.

Moore's Law will eventually catch up. The Pebble is currently the PalmPilot of smartwatches; perfectly suited to the current state of the art. However, progress being what it is, eventually the technology will be good enough that Android (or iOS) on a smartwatch will become the better solution.

Moore's law is about transistor count; what does that have to do with battery life?

I think at this point "Moore's Law" is just used as shorthand for "technology will solve technology's problems given enough time"

It's just 3-5 years away!

More transistors comes from smaller transistors -- not bigger dies. Smaller transistors use lower voltage. And power usage is proportional to V^2.

So for a given amount of computation, power goes down a lot due to Moore's law.

This is much less true now than it has been in the past, due to current leakage effects.

More efficient computing requires less battery power


Go back in time 15 years, then build a computer as powerful as a modern smartphone. It wouldn't be easy, but it could be done. Now try to power that computer with a modern smartphone battery. Not gonna happen.

More transistor density => lower watt consumption => better battery life or form factor, whatever you prefer.

Everyone is interested in maintaining the growth in compute devices diversity and capabilities that Moore's Law has enabled in the past decade. To do that we need to continue to pack more and more transistors on chips.

As you pointed out, todays problem is not the transistor size, but rather it is the energy consumption. Both dynamic and static power are not decreasing proportionally with node size, and therefore we have gotten to the point of asking "why add them if we can't use them?". This is the problems of the power wall and the observation that we must continue to turn off more and more of our silicon if we can't scale dynamic and static power characteristics of transistors with their size. This problem threatens the well being of all semi conductor companies.

Do you think that Intel will just surrender and go bankrupt? If they don't defeat this problem, soon companies will have no reason to buy chips from Intel. So what if they have 2x the cores on the chip if you can only keep half of them active? Without breakthroughs in energy storage and heat dissipation, how can google/apple/... create exciting new compute devices if the processors continue to sip as much power as they did two years ago? Do we decrease the compute capabilities (i.e. give up on the additional transistors) or run them slower than we are used to and is that acceptable?

There is a lot of interest in continuing Moores law. Todays problem is power, like you pointed. Tomorrows problem will be different. With 100 billion dollar livelihoods on the line, I have no doubt they will be solved in the coming years!

Software is another part of the equation - how can the overall efficiency be better if the increase in energy efficiency is being counteracted by increasingly less efficient software using more computations to perform a given task? Exponential increases in hardware have not translated to anywhere near the same gains for overall productivity in average use cases.

> As you pointed out, todays problem is not the transistor size, but rather it is the energy consumption.

If >10 GHz processors were available, that's where the excitement would be. Instead, because we've hit such a wall in raw compute power, the bleeding edge is in things like multiprocessor architectures, power consumption, and sensor integration.

I think the number of operations per Joule has been going up exponentially.

Wireless charging. Supposedly, pCell's new RF beamforming technology with their picocells is able to also transmit power by "beamforming" electromagnetic fields.

That's true more or less, but a "beamformed" electromagnetic field, with highly focused regions of particular interest, still declines in intensity as the square of distance.

As most of the heavy lifting is offloaded to SmartPhones I think all day usage won't be too much of a problem for most wearable devices. Charging devices overnight while we sleep/re-charge seems to work out well enough.

It'll be a cold day in hell before I let Google have an always-on device attached to my person, wearable or otherwise.

These folks have proven--proven!--that they are unable to protect their infrastructure from state actors, that they do not care about individual customers, and that they will hijack our services on a whim to try and raise money. Fuck that noise.

Any wearables need to be completely open-source, and with the ability to retarget their output to servers that we control, with security that we verify.

And you know what? Not a single "normal" person understands the issue here. Aaaargh.

I feel your pain. Out of curiosity, do you carry a mobile phone?

Old dumb feature phone.

Or drive a car?

Nope--issue came to a head after my insurance company wanted me to put a GPS tracker in my car to get lower rates.

So, I do without now. If I decide it's unavoidable, I'll buy an ancient clunker (preferably one with as little electronics in it as possible, think classic car).

Whoah! What insurance company is that?!

Tons. I am going to say the majority. It is optional though. You usually get a discount just for signing up, then you get an additional discount for your driving

Progressive, Travels, Allstate, The Hartford...

They not only track your location, they track your speed, the amount of quick stops you make (an indication you are tailgating), and time of day (some times of day are more risky than others statistically), and how much you drive. People who drive at low risk times, don't drive very fast, don't make quick stops, and drive only a little bit get discounts. Usually you leave the device in your car for 6 months-1 year and your discount is forever. My insurance (Travelers) gives you a 30% discount max. You can also log on online and view all your stats.

You plug a device into your OBD-II port.

There are significant privacy issues at hand here. In one case, it can be argued that you shouldn't be tracked, in another case it can be argued that driving is extremely dangerous (more dangerous than many people assume) and every attempt should be made to make driving safer. Humans have already demonstrated that they will alter their driving behavior for financial gains.[1][2]


[1] http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0001457511...

[2] http://money.msn.com/auto-insurance/will-insurers-pay-you-no...

I had expected them to be aiming more for commonality with the API of Google Glass. Maybe in turn Glass will move more towards this. But they're going to end up with a lot of notification UIs for devs to worry about (Android, Android wear, Chrome, Glass are different) unless they are working on consolidating this.

Given that Glass rapidly deteriorates to being a fun camera, but otherwise not too much else, the only compelling use they presented here was the checking sports scores and needing water resistance. Until it's clearer just what scope for customisation there is going to be for the "cards" it's going to remain looking like a solution in search of a problem (EDIT: thanks todd for obvious correction :) ).

Finally, I think this space will be won by the "Game Boy" approach. Lower fi (possibly even no touch screen), but longer battery life and easier to view screen in bright direct sunlight.

I was actually thinking it was more of a solution searching for a problem. Unless that is what you actually meant to say, then I agree.

Although the software important I think with wearables hardware will be key. No matter how functional these devices are they are first and foremast a fashion accessory and need to look good. There will also need to be a large variety. Every time I look at buying a new watch I cycle through dozens and dozens of devices before I find one I like the look of. This is where I think Google has the upper hand on Apple with wearables. Apple will most likely produce the only device running their software and a lot of people won't like wearing the same fashion accessory as everyone else - they will want choice. Of course if Apple knocks it out of the park with the software/sensors (which is plausible from what I read about Healthbook yesterday) the functionality may just edge out the important of fashion.

Those things look huge. Until "smart watches" can be made smaller and lighter, the adoption rate will be abysmal.

Seriously, those things are electric hockey pucks with straps.

Absolutely correct. They are almost painful to look at.

I'd rather see them start purposefully small so developers will have to be more creative when adapting to the form factor.

At least some models are round. And don't tease the industry. Remember that not long ago cell phones..

Saw a new metal Pebble watch yesterday and was actually shocked to discover it was both smaller and thinner than my own analog watch, which isn't particularly big or chunky.



It looks like a calculator watch for the 21st century.

(But I guess given that I don't like watches much it isn't surprising I don't find these devices very interesting)

Edit: Adding maybe a little bit of value to this comment, the function of the device is very apparent in it form.

Why not approach this from the computing as a bicycle for your mind point of view?

Smartphones were the latest computing evolution bringing general purpose computing with you all the time and with an incredibly ease to use interface. Now people are trying to introduce this new computing device (the smart watch). What does it bring?

It doesn't take up a hand since you don't have to hold it. You don't have to get it out of your pocket or turn it or pick it up to use it. To get it to do stuff you speak to it (possibly even easier to use than touch computing). It can be attached to your skin and read all sorts of data through your skin.

What it doesn't bring you is a sizable enough screen to view photos or text (yet). Also it doesn't take advantage of one of our most precise tools (our hands).

From this we may be able to predict what niches smart watches will evolve into to fill. Heavily voice based, quick call and respond style communications, updates and reminders, location based notifications, no-hand enhancers such as leveling, altimeters, etc... And since the watch is oriented towards your own face... it is heavily personal and can't be easily shared like a phone.

Urgh...I wish we could skip this whole awkward smart watch phase and just realize its a bad idea.

Care to explain why? My wife wears a "smart watch" [1] every day she runs and so do most of her peers. There're definitely markets out there for this sort of thing.

Also, if the watches switched from the pebble form factor to something like this: http://moto360.motorola.com/ would you still have the same opinion?

[1] - For all intents and purposes, this is basically a "smartwatch": https://buy.garmin.com/en-US/US/into-sports/running/forerunn...

If you watch people interact with their phones for a few minutes you realize it is a good idea. Take any average person and you'd see them constantly checking their phone for time(!!), messages, emails, weather, missed calls, current calls (i.e. who is calling me right now), change playing song etc. All those functions could be easily handled by a companion watch device.

The flip side of this is that if it's interactive it doesn't stop the person from either A. constantly interacting with their phone or B. constantly interacting with their watch.

I think people would be better served taking a step back and asking "Do I really need all these notifications?" and the answer will likely be no.

Firstly: you can't fit all those notifications on a watch sized display. So you'd have to interact with the display.

Secondly: To interact with something strapped to your risk, involves both hands.

To interact with your phone requires 1 hand.

There's also a mild security element - notifications and information are essentially constantly being displayed to anyone looking at you, projected outwards from the body.

Add in all the other unsolved issues - i.e. no improvement in battery energy density for a couple of years now, and the whole thing is a non-starter. It can only provide less information, less conveniently.

The only benefit a watch brings to the table is when for whatever reason you can't carry something in your pocket.

Have you used a smartwatch before?

I got a Pebble recently and although you bring up good points, real world usage isn't quite the same.

>Firstly: you can't fit all those notifications on a watch sized display. So you'd have to interact with the display.

Watch defaults to a "watchface". Usually is time and/or date with maybe weather info. If a notification hits my phone, my watch pops that open on the display automatically. I hit one button to dismiss it. Quite faster than first realizing I have a notification (felt the vibration? Saw the flashing LED?) and then turning on the screen, unlocking the phone, and then checking the notification.

For music, it's two button presses to get into the music app and and one more to change songs. Can be improved here (buttons should have shortcuts enabled), but still a bit faster than pulling phone out of pocket to change songs.

>To interact with your phone requires 1 hand.

True, but I only use my watch to do quick, simple tasks that would take longer to do if I had to get my phone from my pocket.

>There's also a mild security element - notifications and information are essentially constantly being displayed to anyone looking at you, projected outwards from the body.

No arguments here! I was also thinking the other day how bad it would be to for someone to see a text they weren't meant to, haha.

>Add in all the other unsolved issues - i.e. no improvement in battery energy density for a couple of years now, and the whole thing is a non-starter. It can only provide less information, less conveniently.

Can't speak for the Moto 360, but my Pebble lasts for about 3 days on average (I've had it for a week only).

If the price isn't too high (has to be < $200 IMO), the battery lasts at least a day on HEAVY usage, and the UI is designed well, smartwatches can have a place in the world. For me, it's a bit about freedom from my phone. I used to obsessively pull my phone out to check if the LED was flashing and even feel "phantom vibrations" while in my pocket. Now, I leave it on silent and pull my phone out much less.

It feels good, it really does. This is one of those cases where more technology actually liberates us from tech.

the existing android systems might look bulky and no be very practical. their marketing campaigns have been terrible.

but the idea has feet and is probably a lot more useful than other technologies like google glass at a fraction of the cost

When someone has a 'session' with a wearable that involves anything more than the the most minimal of operations [1], I feel like that's the "stylus moment" [2].

Sure, there are narrow use cases when 'interacting' with a wearable is conceivable where a phone still is not (e.g. while biking or jogging). But that's going to run into the same problems that Glass runs into: how many people can really justify an electronics purchase to enable interactive computing during those situations? [3]

[1] Swiping to cycle through glance-able cards or triage notifications

[2] "If you see a stylus, they blew it"

[3] Particularly not when purely-passive devices will inevitably be available with lower cost, smaller size/weight, better battery life, etc. (e.g. Pebble vs Fuelband)

The last time I used Google Now was too scared to use it ever again. I don't want to report my location, see cool pictures of my surroundings, or know about the events of my city. It's not just only about the surveillance, it's about the future. The connected future, the uninteresting one. The one on which one must "opt-in" or just stay out. Personally, I do not get Google Now cards. When they are relevant, they are depressing.

Hopefully this stage of the future is just a step into a more positive and fulfilling one.

That being said, give me a rooted version of this device where I can install a custom OS that allows me to use it as a computer and I am in.

I want to be careful not to imply that I'm passing judgement on your feelings, or implying that they're invalid, because I certainly have my moments where I'm a little creeped out by Google Now as well. But I do want to push back a little bit on Google Now cards being necessarily depressing.

I recently traveled up to Boston on a short hybrid work/vacation trip with my wife. When we were headed to the airport, Google Now had a card letting me know my flight was on time, and letting me know when I had to leave to make it to the airport on time. It was information I could have otherwise looked up, but it surfaced that information for me, and it was nice.

When we landed in Boston, we wanted to contact our hotel to verify the check in time and ask if we could leave luggage there for the day if necessary. When I pulled my phone out, there was already a card with the hotel address, travel time, and contact info. Again, stuff I could have looked up (check my email to verify hotel name, look up number, call), but it was nice to have it there and ready for me.

When I head to work in the morning, Google Now has a card for my commute, along with notifications about any accidents that may impact my travel. I also live far enough away that there are a few very different routes I can take, and day to day one or the other may be the best. Finding out my commute needs to go a different way, or I should plan for it to be a bit longer (or shorter, sometimes!) doesn't seem depressing to me.

I keep a pretty close eye on how Google is using my information, and if I begin to feel like it has crossed a line from mutual benefit (helping me, and deriving value as well) to something more one-sided (exploiting me for value), I hope I won't prove to have been naive, but in the meantime, this is something that really seems to make my life better. Just my experience.

Fair enough, I did not test Google Now for a long period of time, and I would not be able to use it as it is meant because I stopped using smartphones the way they are meant to be used many years ago (circa Nexus One). Now they are just a target platform for work, occasional mp3 player, offline map, emergency travel thingy. What you explain sounds perfectly useful if you already use an smartphone.

That Google is able to give you the information you where going to check anyway is not an small accomplishment and, while a bit creepy or invasive on sensitive data, is an amazing achievement for a search engine (I do not know for "don't be evil", but at least for "the search engine" it makes total sense).

My mind might have associated looking at a smartphone as a depressing feeling, and that would be it (and is wrong). I decided I want to spend time figuring out things by myself, even when that will cost me my own time. The backlight from the screen has something it makes me want to play with it when I am idle. Similar as my laptop at 4 AM in the morning.

What I think might explain this a little bit more, I like to see devices as what they are, hardware that can be used to do stuff. When devices start being life enhancing experiences I am out. What does bother me is that as a developer I am no longer a target for the things I do develop. The moment my 70 y.o. uncle is more connected than I am really speaks for my future in technology as a career.

Google Now is not something you can briefly "test" because the benefits really only develop after giving it time to learn your habits. The longer I have used it, the more useful it has become.

There is a trend away from discrete computing, where your computer sits at your desk and only at your desk, and while there will continue to be options for people who prefer that lifestyle, there is a much larger market for people who want their computing to be blended into the rest of their lifestyle. Whether its "laziness" or "augmentation", a lot of people find value in smartphones and smartglasses and smartwatches.

My issue with Google Now is more about how rough it still is around the edges. I have a Nexus 5.

me: "Okay, Google... text [my wife]" Goog: "Mobile or home fax?"

1) Why would you even ask that? 2) There is NO WAY to tell Google Now to default to a number. I get that question EVERY TIME.

Still needs quite a bit more polish before I'm going to be comfortable using it the way my wife uses Siri on her iPhone 5S.

I mean, the stock ticker card is depressing, but that's the fault of my stock picks...

Whatever you wear reflects on you. I don't think this is something for someone who is fashion conscious people (like many people in LA). Wealthy people would prefer an Audemars or a Rolex any day compared to a Motorola or Samsung. Definitely see maybe teens and techies in Silicon Valley wearing these.

Like the iPad when it first when out, the smartwatch should do some key things better than any other device, which it does and some minor things like telling the weather, taking notes etc. although reading long articles, viewing photos or anything that involves a lot of interaction is be suited on a phone, tablet or computer.

The key to the success of these things will be the ability to get information from the display without having to touch it. At first I figured this would mean an always-on display (so, e-ink, I guess), but this clearly isn't that, and yet they don't seem to turn the displays on in the videos (though I'm sure they're all fake).

I wonder if you could do something with the accelerometer that would be good enough? Like, if your arm orientation changes to look-at-your-watch position, the display turns on, and it turns off again when your arm goes back down to your side.

The pebble is always on, but the backlight can be set to turn on when you flick your wrist to look at it. While it could definitely benefit from a more sensitive accelerometer, it works well enough 90% of the time.

It seems quite possible -- it's like how smartphone screens detect when you've moved it from your ear while on the phone to use the number pad.

No, it's not like this. Smartphone has distance sensor, but I am not really convinced that the distance sensor would work in this case too.

Glass is going to quietly shift to being a device for niche groups - not the average consumers. Google has likely realized via the beta of Glass that it's not going to be accepted into the mainstream - but a watch (which is much more discreet, yet performs many of the same functions as Glass) will. If Google wants to really saturate the market, this is a super smart move.

So it's like an amped up google now on a watch?

I'm intrigued, but the price has to be good. Anything over $100 is just going to be a nonstarter in my opinion.

Will I have to charge it 3 times a day, not going to work...etc.

There's lots of difficulties with packing this in to a usable form factor and selling it.

The galaxy gear had a return rate > 30%. But it's also a $300 watch. For $300 it better do more than make it mildly easier for me to do things that I already do on my phone, which sits literally inches away from where my watch would be on my wrist.

And let's say it's wildly successful, I'm really interested in how a watch, on a bus full of people with watches, will know that you are saying "ok google" to it and not somebody else. Imagine sitting in a subway car, and some guy comes in and shouts "ok google, find me a bukake site!" or similar and now everybody on the train has to deal with that.

As far as I'm aware, the Moto X is very much able to avoid triggering by anyone's voice except the one it's keyed to. I was curious about how well it worked, so I tried repeatedly to launch Voice Search on my girlfriend's phone (even trying to imitate her voice); I wasn't able to do it at all. Trying to do so to an arbitrary person's device would be even harder.

That's good to know, but also a bit disconcerting, that Google has a voice print profile for me sitting on their servers somewhere.

How would this even work if it was stored on the server? Every singkr sound triggers a roundtrip to the server from your phone to check the voice? I can't imagine this working any other way than being stored locally.

if it's stored locally, it's probably stored on a server too.

I don't really see how this follows, particularly since I don't believe you can sync the voiceprint across phones. If you're saying that it's _possible_ to send voice prints to the server unnecessarily, then sure: but this has nothing to do with always-listening/voice-print storage; it could be the case for any sort of voice command, which means that what we're talking about here isn't any different from any voice command system in that respect.

> Voice Actions

> Register your app to handle voice actions, like "Ok Google, take a note."

I think this is what most interests me. Hopefully we won't be locked into Google's pre-defined tasks and developers can start working on their own voice actions.

Not sure why but saying 'Ok Google' feels a little creepier than saying 'Ok Glass'. More obvious that you aren't interfacing with a mere gadget, but a multi billion dollar corporate entity...

No, I think the "Ok Google" is something they absolutely nailed. Why? Because that is exactly what you're doing - whether addressing your watch, glasses or phone - you're interacting with that robot-like corporate entity. The replies are also suitable - they have a human voice, but in no way do they pretend to be anything human-like.

Contrast this with Apple (Siri) and Microsoft (Cortana?), who do the same thing, but try to make you treat their apps as some kind of human with crude tricks like pre-written jokes and puns. Personally I find that way creepier.

I've never heard anyone say "search for it", but rather "google it".

True - but that I would argue is a slightly different thing. Referring to a thing is not the same as addressing the thing. Would Siri have been as successful were it to be addressed as Apple?

Yeah, I guess it makes you sound like a tool, but I'm not sure what unique phrase would work better.

As a person who finds both "okay, Glass" and "okay, Google" to be somewhere on a spectrum from merely awkward to full-on creepy, I would just prefer people could set their own custom keywords.

"Ok Jarvis" works as well, if that comes off as less creepy.

Just tried this in various accents - nope, doesn't work. Nexus 4, newest Google Search, Personalised Recognition on.

The part of the advert that impressed me most was that Google Now's voice recognition worked well enough to be useful. Something tells me that isn't actually a new feature.

The Google Now voice recognition is incredible. I never search for direction manually, and I use it to compose most of my text messages and all of my reminders.

Two points:

- This looks basically like an amped up google now, so maybe this means developer access to Now as well, which would be more exciting to me at the moment.

- Pretty much all of the info they showed in the demo would work on an epaper display, maybe minus the swiping gestures. I sure hope the experience will include pebble style watches with a battery life longer than a few hours, but I am not holding my breath.

This looks really cool, but I worry about the battery life of these devices. Doesn't the Galaxy Gear already have not amazing battery life?

My Pebble has a battery life of 7 days and that's one of the biggest benefits compared to Galaxy Gear.

The software is an important part of this, but I'm more interested in seeing what new types of hardware will run this OS. The watch concept is only neat to me right now.

It definitely feels like Android is ripe to bust the confines of the phone and move in to other parts of our lives. The work that Qualcomm is putting in their Snapdragon platform is evidence of this.

The commerical, PoC is great. But its idea has the same flaw as Facebook Paper (https://www.facebook.com/paper).

I can check the weather, get alert and listen to my music from my smartphone. I can enjoy some home automation with Canary (http://canary.is/). If I have free time I can design my own app and integrate a speech recognition to open the door (I am sure there are companies selling this too).

What unique "innovations" - conveniences will Google wearable (which at this stage seems to be just a watch) offer?

I say it has the same flaw as Facebook Paper because Paper 's success is based on rich, beautiful, poetic content. If your circle is casual writer, Paper will look lame to you. I love Google Glass because I can take pictures and record the world from a first-person view attached to my head. I don't plan on making a phone call directly from Google Glass yet - that's kind of weird.

So what else can Google watch do? I just can't see it.

The ability to better monitor your health and fitness.

You see, I can still get away with it with other accessory. I will give Google credit and say this is useful, but other than that, I really don't see it.

You know what is unique? What I want to see?

Iron Man computer screen + Iron Man interactive airtouch computer system.... That's what we are lacking. I want to be able to swipe through contents, web pages from thin air with gesture. We can do some of that already. Push it forward!


I will say this is useful as assistive technology. People who are visually impaired or motion disable can benefit from it. Just put it on wrist and good to go. But other than that, I just don't see it.

That's an argument against all smartwatches, not just Google. Nevertheless, I think you're wrong. I have a Pebble and it has changed my life. I will never leave the house without a wearable on my arm again.

No one is wrong here. Please don't call people wrong because it doesn't agree with your experience. Saying nevertheless is the same as saying doesn't matter how I put it.

Secondly, smartphones don't have the same flaw as Google wearable. Unless you use bluetooth, you can't say phoning someone on a wearable is easier than phoning someone on a mobile phone. Smartphone comes with a large screen and is good for content reading and gaming. Wearable can't go big. How do you text someone? Can you read your email from your watch?

> No one is wrong here. Please don't call people wrong because it doesn't agree with your experience.

I said that I think you're wrong. You claim it has the same flaws as Facebook Paper, which I think is incorrect.

> Secondly, smartphones don't have the same flaw as Google wearable.

I was talking about smartwatches in general (Galaxy Gear, Pebble, Sony SmartWatch etc).

> you can't say phoning someone on a wearable is easier than phoning someone on a mobile phone.

I don't say that.

> Can you read your email from your watch?

Yes and that's with a screen that is even smaller than the competitors'.

In what ways has it changed your life?

* My phone is on permanent silent mode.

* I never miss a call.

* When biking I know if I need to stay and bring out the phone just by glancing my wrist.

* It's very convenient to be able to read texts and emails on your wrist (this is even better than you imagine).

* Great for meeting notifications.

* If I leave the phone on my desk I still see when people call (several times I've catched calls by running to my desk from the other side of the office if I see that it's an important call).

* When using RunKeeper I can see all the stats (speed, distance etc) immediately and also control the music without touching the phone.

* I can use Sleep Cycle without putting the phone on my bed.

* Silent alarm which does not wake up my spouse.

* I can easily access my grocery list (through Evernote) and have it available right in front of me until I'm done shopping.

* I can play Flappy Bird on it.

When do you charge it? (Sounds like you wear it 24/7.)

Only need to charge it once a week but I do it at my desk via USB.

A lighter wallet and another thing needing charge.

> So what else can Google watch do?

That's the key question for me. I don't look at my watch and think "man, that experience sucks" like I did with the pre-iPhone cell phones.

In a way, it feels like Google is extending Android into wearables for the same reason they are doing Google Glass: because they can, not because it solves some frustration.

I think that's why Apple is looking into health-related functionality (if the rumors are to believed). They are solving/improving the fitbit experience, not solving/improving the telling-piece/communication experience.

I really like the idea of being able to check the time (don't currently wear a watch) and text messages without having to pull out my phone. Not sure if that's worth $100+ though..

Can you check all that stuff by just flicking your wrist?

I can't help but think of this as a pimped out house arrest ankle bracelet.

It's going to be pretty great now that everyone has shown their "huge black square on the wrist" design before apple has shown anything. Looking forward to seeing them scramble to steal apples design.

Someone did not checked the sources before pasting the same old "All designs are ugly, XXX will do better than all and all others will rush to copy it"

Yeah, something like that.

I actually wonder if Apple will ever manage to come out with a wearable, because honestly they are in a can't win situation: everyone else is iterating through technologies and designs, and while these aren't for everyone (though everyone who it isn't for is sure that means it is for no one), they're getting better and more reasonable, while Apple needs to come out with some sort of God watch that will completely upend technology.

They can't win. They are absolutely bound to disappoint.

Nonetheless, though, I'm sure six months after they come out with something, you'll be on here proclaiming that everyone else is copying Apple.

every watch design i've seen so far is uninspired and unrisky. they basically slapped a phone on the wrist.

if apple ever releases anything, it will almost certainly not be an ugly square touchscreen with a wristband around it.

and i won't need to proclaim anything, it will be obvious just like it was with the iPhone.

edit: Also your point above doesn't make much sense. Apple has surely been working on their watch for many years. I would be really shocked, and it would be very un-Apple like, if they came out with a new piece of consumer hardware like this that didn't leapfrog over everyone else by just thinking a bit outside the box. Most likely they are not coming out with a "watch", but a smart wristband that has tons of patented UX and hardware that will be a complete new experience for people.

The Motorola device is neither square (which you've stated repeatedly, almost like you didn't even bother looking at the site before you declared that Apple does it better), nor ugly. I'm not a watch person, but it looks pretty beautiful to me.

I imagine that Apple has been working on it for years. So has everyone -- this is hardly unanticipated technology, having been predicted for many, many decades. It just needs technology to make it possible.

And processors are getting faster, while sipping far less juice. Screens are getting better (such as the amazing, likely AMOLED round screen on the Motorola 360). Batteries are getting better. Connectivity options like Bluetooth LE are making connectivity possible. Samsung might take a lot of deserved flack for products like the Gear, but they're trying to iterate the product to make it happen.

While Apple might have had some luck timing entrants at the right time a couple of times, they have no particular advantage in any of those realms. The halo of the iPod won't carry this product launch, so they don't have the normal heads up they used to. It's going to be interesting. But I have absolutely no reason to soundly denounce alternatives against some imaginary, not actually existing foe.

I hope you're all paying attention to the trend this represents, a trend fueled by ever-smaller and more intimate Android devices. Pretty soon the term "Android" may become literal.

What do 'intimate' digital devices have to do with humanoid robots?

I's saying this trend toward a closer and closer association between computers and people -- beginning with a huge, noisy room with lab-coat-wearing attendants who accepted your stack of 80-column cards through a little window, sort of like a bank (my first exposure to computers years ago) -- and now moving toward blurring the line between the computer and its "wearer", and given a number of neurological experiments in which the line between the computer and the human is blurred, I can see the handwriting on the wall.

That sentence was way too long, but I think you get the idea. :)

That would traditionally be called a cyborg, not a literal android (a sci fi reader would expect the android to be fully synthetic).

I agree that software is secondary to current hardware concerns at the moment, but doesn't this effort make it more attractive for hardware experts to try and dive in to improve the wearables market?

They've already got a "ready to go" OS with which to prototype. Pretty awesome since I'm sure Samsung worked hard to get its Gear integration working. Maybe this will improve the number of players in the space? I'm all for efforts that help bring more options to the table.

We're throwing a IoT/Wearables Hackathon in april. Check it out: http://hackendo.techendo.co/

Asking me to strap a computer to my risk is like assigning me homework: it requires a new way of thinking and interacting.

Having said that, I'd better see a significant improvement over using other interfaces. That's why I'm at least initially disappointed with the Android watched.

I get that we all love new interfaces because they're new and fun to play with, but what will this watch do for me that my smartphone can't do?

So we now want to wear Ads on our wrists? Just checking!

If helpful for anyone, I put together a collection of coverage on today's Android Wear announcement + other neat stuff on the rise of wearables


Why do they have any expectation of success at the sort of power consumption that Android requires, with the power supply that wearables can contain? I note that the previous Galaxy Gear was Android - the new one is running Tizen and has around double the battery life. That's not all battery improvements, and no coincidence besides..

Sorry for the typos; I wrote this on my phone and can't edit it. Also, I should note that I'm putting myself in others' shoes with the "homework" analogy. I'm a geek, so I don't mind learning about technology for tech's sake, but the same isn't true for most non-developers.

I have 3 question:

1. Will this only work with Android phone for now?

2. Do you agree that smart watches are more for apps that don't need a lot of user interaction. Like Instagram or Dropbox will not be great on these. Simple things like showing weather etc. will be okay.

3. Does anyone know the price of the Moto G or another Android Wear devices?

Optical illusion: does anyone else see the guy's sleeve move left/right when the page is scrolled up/down?

I am using an iPad4, and scrolling the part of the page with the second video showing the guy's wrist with a checkered cuff. (The video is not playing, just how it shows on page initially).

People wearing this watch do not seem very much interested in news articles ;) More seriously, my fuzzy estimate is that 80% of the time spent on my phone is for reading stuff that is definitely not the departure time of my next flight (that I can memorize five months in advance :) ).

While I don't fly much, Google Now was absolutely fantastic the last time I flew. From notifications about flight delays to checking in. It was one of those things that I didn't think I was ever going to use, but when it came into play it was magical.

lucky you: you have a good memory and/or don't fly very often.

Just another crapshoot from a research institution trying to divest as its core business decays.

Google is showing evidence they can't predict the future very well and won't sustain development in shaky fields.

Instead, they're going for PR and military research projects, like IBM and Veridian Dynamics.

I'm more interested in the watches that were shown on the video. I realize I might be confused, are the watches in the video just placeholders/random design concepts to get the idea across? Still, I'm wondering what devices will eventually support this SDK.

They appear to be the LG G Watch [1] and Moto 360 [2], which were announced at the same time.

[1] http://www.lgblog.co.uk/2014/03/lg-gwatch/

[2] http://moto360.motorola.com/

This is not wearables. It is just a tiny screen mobile device. I'd consider labeling Google Glass a wearables before what was demoed here.

Wearables is the idea of changing what we wear with technological augmentation. Watches have had tech for a long time....nothing new here sadly....

I wonder what precautions Google will take to avoid fragmentation of smart watches.

If this software works well I'd be interested to see an actual watch manufacturer implement it, seeing as software has always been their downfall.

Same thing they've done to prevent it on android phones. ;)

Why are we still using watches as the base of new wearables? Is it because it makes users more comfortable with wearing a computer on their wrist?

Also not really sure about the round LCD, why not a curved rectangular LCD?

Try to look ten minutes onto your arm and than tell me your feelings. Smart watches are a nice add on to a phone. Don't expect it to be a news reader, nor a phone replacement.

First rule of privacy: keep private things private. Second rule of privacy: if two people know then everybody knows.

They should focus on getting the regular Android working and looking good before diverting attention to wearables.

Such a tacky video. I prefer pulling my phone out over wearing a watch ...

If they can shrink the size of that watch in half, I'm in.

How much will google pay its user for using this spywearable?

Constant cringing state with that video...

Come on Microsoft !!! Where are you ?

Reading this news on a desktop, laughing on the way to the bank.

Totally cool! Can't wait to have one!

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