Sunday Debate: How Can Android Wear Capture the Mainstream?

Sunday Debate: How Can Android Wear Capture the Mainstream?

Join us in a fun Sunday Debate on Wear Appeal. Come with your opinions and feel free to read some of our thoughts, then pick your side or play devil’s advocate to get your voice heard and engage in friendly discussion. You can read our food-for-thought or jump straight into the fray below!

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Android Wear has been around for over a year, and despite numerous software iterations and two generations of hardware filled with alternatives, the smartwatch game still hasn’t trickled down into the mainstream, and it has certainly not matched the prediction that analysts have been putting forth for years now.

While Wear is not a mainstream product, it is a good piece of technology for those that have an use for it. The current version of Wear is miles ahead of the earlier, laggier releases, and a lot more is coming soon to further maximize the experience. The new software features come with support for new hardware, too, including LTE connectivity and speaker support. But despite the new gestures and the new shiny watches, we don’t know if Wear will have what it takes throughout 2016 to captivate the mass market. So we ask you:

  • What does Wear need to appeal to a wider base?
  • What factors are currently holding Wear back? (in Price, Hardware, Software, Design)
  • What kind of hardware and software features would sell among consumers?
  • Should Google start opening up Wear for further customization on OEM’s part?
  • How can Google integrate the platform into everyday life?

Join the discussion!

Hardware

Android Wear watches now pack pixel-dense displays, proper processors and plenty of RAM, but what the watches are missing in order to maximize their usefulness are not related to what one needs to draw pixels on a screen, but to make said information valuable. Android Wear could benefit from extra sensors that would justify the always-on-you gadget and the quick access to information. Some of the most popular wearables are centered around health, and Wear can become the ultimate health and information hub with the proper sensors. This would, of course, require a proper battery as well. While Wear watches are packing bigger batteries now, the consensus seems to be that it’s not quite enough for mainstream appeal.

Software

On the software side, Wear is doing a much better job than most its competitors; their smartwatch approach is one that’s about one-handed use (only extended by the current and upcoming gestures) and quick glancing of information. It’s not to be a phone on your wrist but an extension of your phone. As such, Wear has gathered a “notification center” fame that some reviewers claim is taking away from its potential. But with smart voice commands and voice UI navigation, one handed gestures, and the hardware sensor, Wear can find software possibilities that make it a truly compelling at-a-glance information hub. Right now, Wear’s software doesn’t do much that you can’t do on Android, but by exploiting Wear’s form factor virtues and possible future scanners, the value of Wear can be greatly enhanced to be more than what’s mostly a way to read and reply to notifications.

Debating

Android Wear has come of age, but it has more steps to cover before it can be a universally appealing product. Perhaps one day smartwatches will be as ubiquitous as smartphones, but current offerings, their pricing models and their capabilities do not seem to be enough to break that consumer inertia that’s keeping people from strapping more technology to their bodies. So with software and hardware in mind, as well as price and design, we ask:

  • What does Wear need to appeal to a wider base?
  • What factors are currently holding Wear back? (in Price, Hardware, Software, Design)
  • What kind of hardware and software features would sell among consumers?
  • Should Google start opening up Wear for further customization on OEM’s part?
  • How can Google integrate the platform everyday life?