Android Wear: too little too late

Chris Burns - Jun 20, 2014, 10:02am CDT
Android Wear: too little too late

Google is getting in on the Wearables market too late, with far too little to show for their prolonged absence. Over the past year there’s been a wearable devices fad that’s never really taken off – only a select few devices have lasted more than a few months on the market. Now comes Google, ready to take on this environment with Android Wear before Apple arrives with their fabled iWatch.

But should Apple approach? Does Apple really need to make an iWatch when there’s been no especially significant success in any smartwatch thus far?

What’s the point in creating a device that has no calling? Perhaps its to put Siri or Google’s voice command system and Google Now on the wrist, a place it’s never (officially) gone before?

Today we ran an impromptu poll in a couple of social networks with our partners at Android Community on voice command systems. The question for these (still active) polls is as follows:

Do you actively use voice controls on your smartphone?

Android Community Facebook
Yes 46
No 74

Android Community Google+
Yes 18
No 3

As these miniature polls are being run on Android Community’s social networks, it’s safe to say the responders are active Android users. Google+ unsurprisingly skews toward the especially Android user, while Facebook seems to drive toward those that do not make use of voice controls regularly.

Several users appear citing specific reasons why voice controls are not viable for their average daily routine. A loud (or especially quiet) workplace, kids at home, public transportation – the average user appears to have more space where they’re unable to use voice commands than they do with sensible access.

Voice commands are central to the Android Wear ecosystem. In our article from earlier this week, Android Wear video asks why Wearables exist, you’ll find Google reiterating the necessity for voice interaction with Android Wear devices.

If Google – or Apple, for that matter – want to bring a successful model for Wearables to the market, they need something we can’t see yet.

When the iPhone was introduced, Apple took – in retrospect – a very obvious step forward. They put together mobile internet, a phone, and an iPod for music. The paradigm shift created by successfully delivering internet on the combination of two devices that were already successful – that’s the kind of change a company would need to create a future for Wearable devices.

If Google can present an array of features we’ve not yet been privy to for Android Wear at Google I/O 2014, they’ll have a chance of keeping the Android Wear ecosystem alive. These features are going to need to summon already-popular activities we do daily in order to keep the public’s attention.

Where there’s no necessity, a company must create lust for the unnecessary. Google has to do more than provide an extension of the Android software system for a wrist-based device. They need to make the public want something for which they have absolutely no need.

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