Google is casually tipping its hand and revealing a bit of what's in the cards for smart watches running on its Android Wear platform, detailing updates that will enhance support for voice control and navigation in the short term with the promise of a steady streams of patches for the long run.
Early entries into the smart watch sector from LG and Samsung have helped forward the development of Android Wear and several other hardware manufactures are expected to detail plans for devices that will operate on the platform. On the other side of the fence and on the same field this week, Apple's iWatch is projected to make an appearance alongside the upcoming iPhone 6.
With smart watches continuing to gather steam and competition from a rival arriving soon, Google is pushing the evolution of Android Wear with a stream of regular, yet significant, updates. In a conversation with CNET, Director of Engineering for Android Wear David Singleton and Hiroshi Lockheimer, vice president of engineering for Android, detailed some of the changes inbound for Android Wear and shared their vision for devices running the operating system (OS).
In an update to Android Wear, said to be days away, Google will roll out enhancements that enable the OS to leverage the native GPS tech inside smart watches. The software upgrade also will enhance the performance of voice control. The company would like to improve interaction between smart watches and devices beyond smartphones.
While Singleton says official support for custom watch faces hasn't been forgotten, he spent more time looking at the big picture. The ability to roam the yard without a tether to a smartphone will enable smart watch wearers to go for a run without strapping a phone to an armband or weighing down a pocket with a handset, according to one scenario presented by Singleton.
"One of the things we're going to be able to do is add the ability for these devices to start working with some of the other devices you might wear on your body," says Singleton. "So we'll have an update coming that allows you to pair a Bluetooth headset with your watch. And that means you can play music stored on your watch directly on your Bluetooth headset."
Smart watches are guided by the same principles as other wearable tech Google is prototyping or pushing, according to Lockheimer. It all about improving lives, he says.
"Our approach to wearables is the same as our approach to any of our products: We want to build technology that delights people by improving their lives," says Lockheimer. "So our approach to wearables -- watches, Glass, even our smart contact lens project which is designed to help people with diabetes measure their glucose -- is to build things that you use when you need and forget about when you don't."