When Pebble went up on KickStarter, I had to fund it. It was an incredible invention that has made my life a little easier since receiving it long ago. I can receive text messages on my wrist, quickly read email and Facebook responses and messages, and get turn-by-turn navigation from my phone… without ever having to pull it out of my pocket. Yet, despite these huge conveniences, Pebble has some serious limitations. It doesn’t, for example, have any microphone on it, so I can’t summon a command from Siri or anything with it. It doesn’t have input system at all really, so replying to those messages, or adjusting my route must be done from the phone. It also makes no noises at all, but the device can still alert me with vibration, which I argue is better than sound for this type of device anyways. These limitations weren’t solved by the Galaxy Gear nearly good enough… because like typical Samsung… they didn’t really think about what the end user wants before cramming all sorts of stupid functionality into a device that didn’t need it, and then charging a lot of money to buy it, and use it, with only their own limited lineup of devices.

Point is… Galaxy Gear sucks. However, The new Android Wear from Google… Does not suck. It sucks very little indeed.

The watch addresses a lot of the modern limitations of the new smart watch market, giving a brilliant color display in multiple shapes (round and square), and allows for a more pleasant viewing experience with the watch face. For example, color images are present, decent transitions between interfaces are present, and I was very pleased to see that Google Now has been integrated into it as well with a microphone, allowing you to actually provide input to the device, rather than simply receiving only. I doubt it will perform quite as Google shows it performing here, given that a train is surely too noisy for the little mic to pick out accurate speech to text, but we’ll let them have their ad in peace for now.

It’s important to note here that even though you rarely see any phone in this ad at all, a smart phone connected to the internet is required for all ‘smart’ functions. It’s not truly a ‘smart watch’ as much as it is an extension of your smart phone. It connects with your phone, with an app most likely (Google may build the app directly into the system, if they were smart), and communicates with it. That means that it will adversely effect your battery life, and you’ll still have to charge the watch every week if you wear it often. My iPhone takes about a 20% battery life duration hit from my Pebble. I have to charge my Pebble after about (this is a guess) 100 hours of usage, and this watch looks to use more power than the Pebble as well. This is especially true for a color display, a microphone with an input system, and for displaying transitions and moving maps. Plan on bringing two charger cables along now, if you’re going on a trip someplace.

Overall this looks like a solid device, and I’m excited to see it in person sometime. it’s not enough to make me switch to Android (especially with a strong rumor of Apple having their own watch in development for a while), but it’s an excellent step forward for consumer technology, and an exciting development that is sure to move this market forward at faster speeds. Special thanks to the folks at Pebble for starting this evolution of technology as well… I’m proud to have purchased the original from your genius.

The developer preview of the program is up as well… so enjoy, if you’re one of those types of people. A video preview of it is above.

(Source: Android Blog)

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