The wearable market has just begun to heat up, with major players, as expected, being Apple and Google.
Google is behind Android Wear, the wearable operating system used in devices like the Moto 360. Apple, however, has developed an operating system specifically for its upcoming smart watch, the Apple Watch.
One thing that both Apple and Google have in common when it comes to wearable devices is the fact that they think that wearable devices are not a replacement for a smartphone -- at least not yet. Smart watches involving either of these companies are, or will be, notification-focused, delivering notifications from a smartphone.
Both devices will also be heavily search-based. Google is obviously the big player in search, but if Apple is able to pull off a seamless search experience on the Apple Watch, we could have an interesting device on our hands. Google has implemented Google Now into Android Wear, allowing a personalized center for searchable information. Apple doesn't have anything like Google Now, but it may offer similar features on the Apple Watch. As far as search goes, Google is the undisputed king, and that's likely to hold true in the wearable market.
Another big part of devices involving these companies is fitness. Google is offering Google Fit with Android Wear, which is essentially an SDK for developers to build their own apps. Google Fit, however, also has its own app, which serves as a hub for fitness information across apps. Apple is offering a similar experience with HealthKit, offering both an SDK for developers who want to create their own fitness apps and an app called "Health," in which users can find all their health information.
The Apple Watch is largely controlled by the "Digital Crown," something that sets it apart from Android Wear devices. Most Android Wear devices are predominantly swipe-based, with a heavy emphasis on voice control. Both companies seem to agree that a small screen isn't ideal for only swipe-based control, although they have very different approaches to tackling this. While it is perhaps a little too early to tell, voice control is gaining in popularity and seems to be a lot better than using something like a Digital Crown. Rotating the Digital Crown lets users zoom and scroll, while pushing it like a button return users to the Home screen.
Apple has not yet released any of its wearable products, however it is likely to very soon. It seems as though Apple's Watch OS is a little less familiar than Google's Android Wear, not to mention the fact that the Digital Crown seems a little frustrating. Apple will, however, inevitably sell millions of Apple Watches. While Google doesn't sell hardware, Android Wear is likely to end up on the wrists of far more people than Apple's offerings, just like in the smartphone market.