For any company that has been looking to create a mobile application, one of the biggest questions has been what platform should you start with? There are a number of options that all offer a different set of challenges when it comes to the development process. However, there could soon be a new platform that will make the decision-making process even more complicated.
Is wearable technology the next playground for mobile application developers.
Last week on the official Google blog, the company announced Android Wear, a version of the popular mobile operating system specifically for a smartwatch. The company claims that supercomputing is in the palm of our hands because of smartphones, but there is more than can be done to keep us connected.
"We're only at the beginning; we've barely scratched the surface of what's possible with mobile technology," the post reads. "That's why we're so excited about wearables—they understand the context of the world around you, and you can interact with them simply and efficiently, with just a glance or a spoken word."
The promotional video released shows users doing a number of things with an Android Wear powered application. With voice commands people are shown searching Google for information, opening the garage door while biking home and searching for the name of a song playing on the radio. The device also sends user specific information like the weather, beach conditions for surfers, traffic delays and monitors health and fitness.
The company also created a new developers website where companies can download a "Developers Preview" and start tailoring notifications for existing apps so they will work with the smartwatch. In a separate video for that, Google creators say how excited they are to see what talented mobile application developers will be able to do with this kind of technology in their hands as this kind of service is just at the beginning of its life cycle and will be available to consumers later this year.
Is wearable technology more than just a fad?
While wearable technology had been gaining many headlines, Android Wear being the latest big one, there are many out there that fail to see the consumer appeal of the product. Is it really better to get a weather notification on your wrist instead of pulling out a smartphone?
A recent article from CITEworld examined this idea more closely. The piece points out that every technology system has had its doubters. In tech circles there is an infamous Newsweek column that predicts the internet will never take off and laughs in the face of the idea of buying books and newspaper in a digital format.
Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry, the author the CITEworld piece, said that right now wearable technology is still a fad but that could be a temporary state. The reason for this is because the game-changing application has not been created for it yet. For personal computers, the first modern spreadsheet software, VisiCalc changed the way businesses saw the potential of the hardware as it dramatically changed a mandatory aspect of operations. He added that the iPhone came packaged with a "killer app," Safari, which allowed full-web browsing on the device.
When it comes to wearable technology, there has yet to be a game-changing application that makes it must have hardware. Bringing Android into the sector is a first step and who is to say what creative mobile application development firms will be able to bring to market in the next few years?