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back to article WOW! Google invents the DIGITAL WATCH: What a time to be alive

Google has driven the world bonkers with glimpses of Android-powered smartwatches – the first gadgets to use the web giant's new Android Wear operating system for wearable computers. The ad kingpin did not reveal specific release dates for the devices today, but it has apparently lined up hardware makers Asus, LG, HTC, Samsung …

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Anonymous Coward

Google are so inconsistent, they say looking at phones is odd so wearing a stupid pair of glasses is the answer. But oh no, they can't possibly avoid jumping on the smartwatch bandwagon too.

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Um... a little unfair? If their partners want to produce wearables, what do you expect Google to do, say "Nah... the future is Glass!" Of course they're going to provide an OS and common APIs for those wearables.... Otherwise we'd be in the same situation as mobile phones in the mid-2000s where every device had their own OS....

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The future is both.

We've worn watches for over a hundred years now, they're not weird. The size and shape of cuneiform correspondence and ancient wax writing-boards are pretty much iPhone and iPad shaped, so these are natural things to physically hold.

A HUD is not there yet. Some people (like the armed forces, emergency services, bike couriers, taxi drivers etc) might love things like Glass, but for most, I don't think so. If you're a proper smart-wear nerd you'll already have shutter-glasses for your home 3D TV, perhaps a portable DVD player you wear on your face on aeroplanes, and a Google Glass for kicking about. When those devices are consolidated, we'll see an explosion in their use. There may have to be laws about secret filming (a compulsory red flashing light?) but putting on a pair of sunglasses is more natural than a thing poking out of your head.

I think there's a bigger market in smartwatches than head-up, but only for now.

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Silver badge

The limiting factor of all these kind of watches is how long they last between charges. Unless they develop a battery technology that will make it last at least six months between charges I'll stick with my auto winder.

I'd just get annoyed having to charge it every day or every other day, weekly or even monthly.

Still the round one looks a little more stylish though.

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Anonymous Coward

There are some people who need to show off whether it is the big watch, designer label t-shirt, smartest phone or that they have the best trim level on their car displayed on the boot lid.

Others like the understated.

There's more class to being understated.

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power

i don't see this as been useful, to me. others may find it useful. but having another device to plug in at night would be enough to put me off. should be so easy to put the wireless recharging hardware into the strap so you can take it off plonk it on charging mat at night and be done.

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"Otherwise we'd be in the same situation as mobile phones in the mid-2000s where every device had their own OS...."

You say that like its a bad thing. From a consumer standpoint the more competition the better. I can think of many smart phone features I was using last decade that have yet, or have finally been added to the major mobile OSes this past year. Everyone using the same OS makes the OS less secure; its easier to spread malware and viruses and makes it easier for governments/hackers to snoop. Applications written in html/css/js will work on all major (and most minor) platforms.

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Silver badge

"The future is both."

More likely "the future is neither".

There is really nothing compelling about smart glasses or smart watches except for twat appeal.

All this info is already available on smart phones which people carry around in their pockets and can glance at in seconds when they need to.

Very few people now even wear wrist watches - they go to their phone for the time.

The idea seems to be that a smart watch is not so much a device in itself, but is instead a remote slave device to the smart phone. This harks back somewhat to the old (failed) tablets which were seen as portable extensions of PCs. ie. you uploaded data into them for remote use, but the computer was the "real" device.

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Re: power

The charging is almost certainly via wireless (Qi); so the idea will be that you just dump the watch on your bedside table with a charging pad (along with your smartphone and smart glasses...) and don't worry about pro-actively charging it.

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Aaaaaand...

Nobody cares. Nobody wears a watch unless it's fancy jewelry.

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JDX
Gold badge

Re: Aaaaaand...

Wearing a watch which is a fancy gadget would fall into the same category, even if what you said was true (it's not, everyone I know wears a watch and most of them are fairly un-jewelled)

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Re: Aaaaaand...

I'm guessing they're all over 45?

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Thumb Up

Re: Aaaaaand...

I'm guessing they're all over 45?

You might be right.

My watch (a Longines "Professional") was bought by my father in 1942. It has hour, minute, and a sweep-second hands. It does what I want a watch to do - I wind it up and it works...

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Thumb Down

Re: Aaaaaand...

Speak (sorry, prattle) for yourself....

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Re: Aaaaaand...

Hey, now.

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Anonymous Coward

Microsoft beat them to it

The Windows/Office ball and chain.

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Re: Microsoft beat them to it

Uses entirely unrelated story to post retarded Microsoft joke.

You have qualified as 33% Eadon.

Next all you need to do is claim absolute godlike security architecture genius while having a massively pwned website that looks like somebody puked five rolls of Spangles over Neil Gaiman and get banned.

I'm looking forward to the last bit.

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Anonymous Coward

Looking better at least!

Can't quite work out whether those images are actual devices or concepts of what Moto and LG would *like* to make, but either way they certainly *look* a lot better than Samsung's "look at our screws" effort with the Gear. Whether they have any practical purpose, well... we'll see!

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colour screen?

That battery should last at least 10 minutes.

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Anonymous Coward

Say it again, y'all

To paraphrase – only slightly – Edwin Starr's 1969 anthem: "Wear! Huh! Good God, y'all! What is it good for? Absolutely nothing!"

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Trollface

Re: Say it again, y'all

Reminds me of this Daily Mash story.

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I have a Sony smartwatch 2 and am completely underwhelmed.

If future Android smart watches are going to be like this experience, then it is something I will allow to pass me by,

My particular smartwatch relies on bluetooth to communicate to the phone it is paired with for data etc. The dependence on bluetooth is a complete pain in the rear, the watch lasts for a few days but the phone probably wont go more than 24 hours. And thats when bluetooth is behaving on my phone...

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Bronze badge

The phone probably isn't running BT4.0/1 which supports BT LE (Low Energy).

If it did, BT devices should be able to stay 'attached' with very little power use indeed, days for sure.

Check for an update if it is Android, maybe they have a BT LE one for your hardware.

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Bronze badge
FAIL

Epic fail?

Do people wear watches for functionality or because they makes a person look good and feel good?

Where's my GPS - ah it's on my watch.

Crash.

Bang

Wallop?

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Anonymous Coward

I have a smart watch...

It's an IWC Port Auto. It's very smart. For all the other sorts of things, my iPhone does just fine.

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Silver badge

The OS should not matter

I'm sure it suits Apple, Google or Samsung if the watch is tied to a phone OS, but it sure as hell shouldn't suit anyone else. These devices are transferring quite basic information between phone and "wearable". There really should be no reason to tie devices together in this way. There should be bluetooth profiles that correspond to these uses and the each end simply implements the profile.

Aside from that, there is no evidence that this latest push into smart watch / "wearable" land has solved the fundamental problems with these devices - battery life. A smart watch which lasts a pathetic day or two between charges is less smart and more dumb. Why do they even need these fancy battery sapping sometimes-on / sometimes-off displays just to tell the weather or convey basic information anyway?

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Dick Tracy??

Fifty years later. Two-way wrist TV. We thought it was pure fantasy when it was in the comics back then. Reality, what a concept.

p.s. Does it have a position sensor so it will change "up" depending on which way you hold it?

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Bronze badge

Re: Dick Tracy??

Fifty years later. Two-way wrist TV. We thought it was pure fantasy when it was in the comics back then. Reality, what a concept.

I dunno. The wrist-gizmo concept looks cool in fiction, but years ago LG tried a watch-phone and it didn't go anywhere. Now of course LG isn't exactly stellar in implementing their designs, or marketing them, or following up a technology trail that looks promising but didn't take the world by storm on the first try, or in post-sale support, or...

Actually, I forget the point I was trying to make.

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Glass was just a behavior probe

launched by Google to study the environment on planet Human. With data in hand from Human behavior, Google engineers designed Now. Now that they have the Now approach to personal service, watch for all manner of Android connected things carrying Google services to the habitable universe and beyond..

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Not New

There are a number of android watches out already from chinese companies. A few of them actually look ok. e.g. the geak watch.

i.e. they run full android rather than just working as a 'companion'.

A few have GPS too (like the geak W1), making full moving map navigation possible on a watch.

I was tempted to buy one last week to run some navigation software for flying my paramotor that I currently run on a MOD Live.

It might not be great as a watch, but as a tiny fully sensored up miniature computer on your wrist, there are a bunch of interesting applications one could think of to write for it.

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I checked the place on my wrist - sorry, already taken. Wonder how they are going to market this thing; it may be incredibly smart, but aesthetically, it will be asked to compete with my Shorokhoff - good luck with this prospect.

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I'd be surprised if Casio didn't take issue with LG trying to flog a 'G Watch'.

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Silver badge

Especially since Casio already make a BTE-connected G-Shock watch, with notifications for iOS devices (iOS implemented BTE support before Android officially did, though Samsung put the hardware in place on some their devices beforehand)

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I quite fancy a smart watch – don’t wear anything on my wrist at the moment. GPS and compatibility with RunKeeper is a must as I would like to use it for my runs - save me from having to wear an arm band and my phone.

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Bronze badge

What I'd actually find useful needs neither a mic nor a camera - an e-paper watch that only updates every minute should last a fair bit on a charge; if it could alert me of incoming / missed calls + dismiss them (including various other Android notifications and alerts) and display received messages I'd be fine. But it would HAVE to look good in a non-geeky way. I'm hardly asking for the impossible here...

On the other hand I have to admit an exquisitely crafted pocket e-watch (complete with lid and radial pixels) on a chain would sound quite badass.

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Moto 360

If that is an actual working prototype rather than a concept model it looks surprisingly good. If it comes with a proper metal or leather strap I might be interested. Those cheap plastic/rubber straps give me a rash.

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Re: Moto 360

Assuming the strap isn't built in, it is possible to replace the strap on most watches with one more to your preference. If you are too ham fisted to figure how you can pay a jeweller to do it for you.

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Silver badge

Wearables are definitely the solution

Remind me again - what's the problem?

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Bronze badge

Flexible batteries

Like these http://www.bluesparktechnologies.com/ and others, used in the strap could produce something with a reasonable battery life.

Still not too keen on talking to my wrist though.

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Perhaps it's just me

but a watch powered by an ARM processor. Is it April 1st yet?

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Black Helicopters

So thats why Google bought Motorola and then sold it!

Google only wanted Motorola’s patents and use it’s engineers to make an android watch to kickstart the wearables market based on android.

I bet Samsung feared being squeezed from the high-end by another vertically integrated company like Apple. Google then offloaded Moto to appease Samsung, who are are currently still hedging their bets with tizen.

Samsung have nice leverage in a brand new market segment and Google can’t afford to piss off it’s hardware partners but they are friends again now so bye, bye tizen.

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Like a LED watch

I'm not quite old enough to have seen LED digital watches when they came out, but I heard the relief when LCD arrived and you no longer had to press a button to see the time.

Sounds like the same here - a power-gobbling screen that can't be on all the time, so you need to use your non-watch hand to touch something on your watch hand, before it can perform any useful function. I struggle to see how this is better than a single-handed action to retrieve a smartphone from a pocket or handbag and press the wake button.

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Joke

The arrival of the Vogons is nigh!!!!

As some ape-descended life forms apparently STILL think digital watches are a good idea.

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