Wearables: The Race Heats Up between Android Wear and iWatch

While we tend to focus on cloud backup, storage, and sync issues, sometimes we are just so interested in a new technology we need to talk about it. Not too long ago, we excitedly reported some of the cool new tech and gadgets we saw at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). When we weren’t busy checking out the new cars, 3D printers or the 4K UHDTVs, we were awed by the number of wearables that were introduced.

From Pebble’s Steel to LG’s Lifeband Touch, Samsung’s Galaxy Gear to Sony’s Smartwatch 2 and the rumored iWatch from Apple, this new market already seems crowded (reminds us of cloud storage in that way). Two days ago with Google’s announcement of their developer version of the Android Wear, Apple fans are wondering when the iWatch will be released. It is very likely that these two top players will dominate the wearables market. Let’s take a look at their simulated images.

Android Wear by Google:
androidwear

iWatch by Apple (concept image):

iwatch-concept-nike

Similarities:

Fitness. Android Wear will be able to detect both speed and distance traveled. There will definitely be a focus on fitness. Likewise for the iWatch, Apple had brought some key hires onto the iWatch team: ex-Nike employees, sleep analysis experts and biometric scienticians etc. Moreover, it is widely expected to launch its health monitoring software, possibly on the iOS8, at the WWDC this June.

Voice Command. On the Android Wear, if you want to do more than just getting notifications, Google allows you to respond to your messages or search for things (such as finding toy stores nearby) using voice command. As for iWatch, it will incorporate Siri. There were recent rumors that Apple is beefing Siri up to allow the iWatch to make reservations, send texts etc. It will be interesting and crucial (for these companies) to see what else their respective voice commands and do.

Verdict

The eventual market leader will depend on several factors. First, release dates will be crucial. Though no official release dates were announced for Android Wear, Motorola said it might be summer 2014. Of course, Apple is as tight lipped as usual but the rumors are pinning it to a late 2014 launch. If Apple pushes it further back to 2015, it may lost the early adopters to Google.

Second, features and functionalities are crucial. We all expect to be able to check the weather, read emails and messages, get Facebook notifications, use the maps and of course, monitor our health and other fitness related things. The availability of other apps might give one an edge over the other. For example, if the user is able to access his files stored on the cloud, such as in ElephantDrive, and view them on the go.

One other big factor is the usability of the voice command. On our smartphones, we can just laugh it off when the voice command messes up what we say. However, for the smartwatches, it will not be so funny anymore since there is really no other alternative to send a message or search for things. It will also need to be able to distinguish the user’s voice from other background sounds since this will be used primarily on the go and not in a quiet room.

All in all, it will be interesting to see what each company rolls out. If the product is capable to do many things and takes off, I believe it may replace the smartphone. At that time, we will be left with the smartwatch and the tablet for our mobile devices.

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