Techcrunch

New Android Smartwatches Are Here But Does Anyone Care?

LG's G Watch and Samsung's Gear Live launched on Monday, but one thing sets the smartwatches apart from other watches - they're powered by Google.

By Daniel Shapiro | July 7, 2014

Smartwatches haven't had a whole lot of luck catching on in the mainstream market. Now, two new smartwatches launched and they have something that previous watches didn't — Google.

Question is, will LG's G Watch and Samsung's Gear Live, both of which launched Monday, earn more success than previous smartwatches?

Both devices are powered by Google's Android Wear — the wearable version of its mobile operating system. This is the key difference between these watches and the ones we've seen previously.

As The Wall Street Journal explains, Google Now connects to your Android phone and then digs through your Gmail, web searches, calendar and other Google interactions to provide you with information such as traffic updates for your daily routes or appointment reminders.

TechCrunch even went as far to declare Google Now the killer app for Android Wear, citing other simple features such as weather updates or pulling up a boarding pass barcode at the airport. This is despite the app having been around on Android phones since 2012.

"While I’ve had Google Now on my phone for a long time now, the more I use Wear, the more I feel like it was custom-made for Google Now. Indeed, this is the first time I really feel Now is living up to its promise. It’s also the first time I find myself paying full attention to Now, despite its prominence on Android before."

And while reviews of the watches aren't really positive or negative they all seem to agree on one thing — Android Wear is a big step in the right direction for smartwatches.

 Now, smartwatches have been around in some form or another since the early 2000s but they've had trouble taking off. Some analysts think that while close, it's still not quite time for the devices to become mainstream.

USA Today's Edward Baig writes "While it's surely helpful to glance at notifications that pop up on your wrist for incoming e-mails, Facebook feeds and sports scores, it's typically not that much more helpful than reaching for your phone. Too many notifications risk bordering on distraction."

CNET's Luke Westaway chimes in saying "Google however would be wise to take note of the failed smartwatches of yesteryear, because even if they were never up to the task technologically speaking, they do prove one thing — that persuading the general public to buy, wear and use a high-tech timepiece is no picnic."

One thing that might help is the spectre of Apple's iWatch looming on the horizon. With the hiring of former luxury watch company Tag Heuer executive Patrick Pruniaux, Apple seems to be gearing up to launch the device, which has been trademarked in five countries.

And as V3 writes while some might be dismissive of an iWatch or really any smartwatch succeeding, many mocked the iPad before its launch in 2010.

Another possible boost to the future of smartwatches is Motorola's highly anticipated Moto360 watch coming later this summer.

So will smartwatches catch on soon or will they go the way of the technology like the 3D-TV? While no one knows, it looks like we'll find out soon.

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