Google is officially getting into wearable technologies. The infamous Google Glass does not only remain a one off device, but only marked the beginning of the company’s move into this exciting new area of technology. In this regard, the company has announced the development of Android Wear, a special version of the mobile operating system that has been modified for wearable devices (TheVerge).
ENTERING THE SMARTWATCH MARKET
The system has been designed specifically for smartwatches. Thus, the tech giant is trying to enter the market of smartwatches aggressively, in an attempt to establish itself as the key player in this niche. A video has been released, which showcases what the watch interface will look like. Also Google announced some of the key features. Fitness, was presented as a major component. Thus, it provides users with real-time speed, distance and time updates. This indicates that Google Maps is integrated into the new operating system, a feature that will bear great relevancy for tourists, as smartwatches could be used to facilitate navigation and tracking in unfamiliar environments.
STRONG INTEGRATION OF GOOGLE SERVICES
It is no surprise that the operating system strongly integrates different Google services and features. The announcement confirmed that services such as Google Now. Hence, smartwatches can be operated via voice recognition. Also the tech giant ensured that the watches will be attractive to consumers, with big brands such as Fossil offering smartwatches with the operating system by the end of the year
IMPLICATIONS FOR TOURISM
The implications for tourism can be substantial. Unlike the controversial project Google Glass, which has been met with fierce criticism due to privacy concerns and high pricing; smartwatches seem to be commonly more accepted among consumers. For tourists, these devices might offer a discrete way to use some of the very useful smartphone features (e.g. navigation). In addition, the considerably lower price point might lead to much higher adoption rates, thereby having a stronger impact on the industry than the niche gadget Google Glass.
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