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Google I/O 2014: Android Wear smartwatches on sale tomorrow

LG G Watch

Google reveals the final details of Android Wear, and prepares the Play Store for the LG G Watch and Samsung Gear Live

As predicted, Android Wear played a major role in the keynote speech at this year’s Google I/O, with director of engineering David Singleton revealing that the first devices would be available to order from tomorrow from the official Play Store. Surprisingly, LG’s G Watch won’t be alone, either; Samsung is joining the party with the Gear Live, essentially a Gear 2  running Android Wear rather than Tizen.

The Android Wear portion of the keynote focused on design, interaction and development opportunities for the wearable operating system, which will share the same Material Design as the newly-announced Android L. Users will see notifications as cards which can be swiped away and dismissed, swiped through and double-tapped to interact with.

Samsung Gear Live

We finally learnt how apps will be installed to an Android Wear device; essentially if an app has an Android Wear component, it will automatically install to your wearable when you install the mobile app on your smartphone. This means no separate app store and no need to juggle multiple apps as with the limited memory Pebble. When a mobile app updates, the Wear version will update too.

Android Wear will also include a Do Not Disturb mode, which can be acitvated with a single downwards swipe from the top of the screen. Other useful features include turn by turn navigation when walking to a destination, the ability to press and hold on the default watch face to choose an alternative design, and synchronised notifications between wearable and smartphone; when you dismiss a notification on an Android Wear device, it will also disappear from your phone, meaning no need to dismiss the same message twice.

To coincide with the launch of the LG G Watch and Samsung Gear Live, Google has taken the Android Wear SDK out of developer preview and will be making it available to download. It shares almost all the same APIs as Android, which should make it easier for developers to design useful Wear apps to match their mobile apps.

Both the LG G Watch and Samsung Gear Live should be available to order on the US Play Store tomorrow, although it’s unclear whether the UK will be seeing the wearables any time soon. Unfortunately for fans of circular screens, Motorola’s Moto 360 won’t be launching until later this year.

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