Android Wear – Welcome to the Future

By Xinye Ji

Whether or not you’ve been following Android Wear, I think we can all agree that the integration of technology into our everyday lives is becoming more and more apparent. However, these changes are small, gradual, not sudden. People slowly make minor compromises to incorporate technology into their everyday lives. For example, we hear less and less about people clinging on to their flip phones as we transition through this decade, and more and more about luddites taking their first wobbly steps. It’s strange to think that a decade prior to the founding of Android in 2003, cell phones in general weren’t nearly as widespread as smartphones are today.

But like I said, the change is gradual, and Android Wear is a part of that change.

Diffusion of Innovation: Accepting Change

Everett Rogers wrote a book called Diffusion of Innovation which outlines the pattern at which an innovation reaches critical mass. I’m not going to go into the specifics of what causes an innovation to be adopted by the general public, as that is not my area of expertise. However, there are typically five categories people fall under when taking new technology assimilates into society: Innovators (2.5% of users), Early adopters (13.5% of users), Early Majority (34% of users), Late Majority (34% of users), and Laggards (16% of users).

 

Diffusion

As it stands, people using Android Wear currently would fall under the early adopter category.

Where it’s come from: Pebble the Predecessor

On April 11th, 2012, Pebble Technology started a Kickstarter campaign to create Pebble, a smartwatch that interacts with your phone. The kickstarter blew past it’s $100,000 goal by over 10000% on the ending date of May 18th with a grand total of $10,266,844.

I’d argue that this kickstarter is what piqued the interest of Google on Android and the respective hardware companies that came with it.

Where it stands now: Early Adopters

On March 18th 2014, Google announced Android Wear. Later in June, the Samsung Gear Live and LG G Watch were launched at Google I/O. Right now, we are seeing innovators push new products to the early adopters. This is a pivotal time for wearable technology. Many wonder if smartwatches will be able to do what Google Glass has not been able to, push us closer toward the future.

As of now, Android Wear does a handful of things. The concept is having phone information at a glance. A lot of this information is based off of cards from Google Now. Google Now, for the time being can keep track of a lot of your personal data. For example, it can keep track of stock prices, your emails, where you parked or the traffic from your commute from work to home, amongst many other things. Also because of it’s integration with Google Now, any commands you dictate with “OK Google” can also be applied to your watch. You can text a friend, send an email, find a contact, or even get navigation. Additionally, these smart watches can also display your notifications from third party applications on your phone.

Android Wear

Where it’s going

In all honesty, I believe that Android Wear’s success will be entirely up to the hands of the developers. Teams like us at Cogent IBS will be the ones who will make smartwatches truly a seamless experience. For example, the next iteration of DynaMeet could easily integrate Android Wear. We could set up a meeting without even pulling out our phones.

However, this technology could just as easily flop. Being at a stage where early adopters begin using your product could make or break it. Early adopters tend to have the greatest effect on new technologies. However, if Pebble’s kickstarter is any indicator for the demand of these devices, we’ll be welcoming the future much sooner than we think.

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