Chicago-based Motorola will be one of the first companies to offer a so-called smartwatch based on the newly announced Android Wear program from Google. The watch, to be called the Moto 360, will offer voiced-based interaction triggered by the phrase “OK Google.”
The Android Wear operating system, released Tuesday, is an altered version of Google's popular software that powers more than 1 billion of the world's smartphones and tablets. The new software will run on an array of smartwatches scheduled to be released later this year.
"From mechanical to electronic movements, analog to digital faces, the wristwatch has been reinvented several times over, but the basic design has endured for a century because of its elegance and usefulness ‘at a glance,’" Motorola wrote on its blog. "Our vision for Moto 360 was to celebrate that history as we reimagined the wristwatch for the future."
Moto 360 will feature alerts and notifications regarding new emails and calls, as well as meeting times and social media updates. The watch is expected to go on sale this summer but no details on pricing were announced.
Android watches will be less conspicuous — and perhaps less obnoxious — than Google Glass, the high-tech headwear that includes a small camera and thumbnail-sized display screen attach to frames that look like a pair of spectacles.
Like Glass and smartphones running on other versions of the software, the Android watches will respond to voice commands such as "Ok Google" to play a specific song, send a text or make a restaurant reservation. It will also feature a virtual assistant, called Google Now, to learn a user's routines and preference so it can automatically show important information that can be seen with a quick look at the wrist.
Google is already trying to create more uses for Android watches by making the software available to computer programmers interested in making apps for the software.