Well the title says it all. As our readers know, we're all about the wearables here at Entropy, love our Google Glass, and have had just about every iteration of the fabled "Smartwatch" the last 18 months - including several versions of the Pebble, Metawatch, Samsung Gear, Samsung Gear 2, Samsung Gear Fit...(sheesh!) the list goes on and on.In short, after only 24 hours with our new Samsung Gear Live Android Wear watch, we can easily proclaim that nothing has come anywhere close to the potential of Android Wear.
It's THAT good.
Sure it has basic notifications like the Pebble or many of the other initial Smartwatch iterations, but with the visual aesthetic and graceful use of Google "cards", the experience is much smoother and crucially - easier to navigate and act upon. But beyond simple notifications there are two KILLER features that make it next to impossible for rival Smartwatch rivals (and potentially even Apple) to come close to what Android Wear can achieve.
The first - the "OK Google" voice command.
Simply tap on your Android Wear watchface and with the "OK Google" hotword you can access a number of commands - from viewing your daily agenda, to taking a note with Evernote to checking your heart rate. It's fast, super accurate and even allows you to quickly search the Web with a tidy "card-based" response:
The "OK Google" App Action & Search Command
We've been using the "OK Google" command solidly for the past day and have only had a few voice recognition stutters. The opportunity for Developers is simply massive. Think Google Glass without the embarrassment - and with significant manufacturer and software support. Apps can not only launch via the hotword, but voice-to-text is next to seamless in dictating text, email, and note responses.
And this is just the beginning.
With Google's exceptional voice recognition, Apple will be hard-pressed to "Siri" the performance and accuracy of Android Wear.
Second, and perhaps most importantly - the Android Wear paradigm is the perfect channel for Google Now. Sure we've loved the little Google Now cards via the Google App reminding us of upcoming events, drive times, reminders, and even un-prompted tips and info. But the problem was always initiation - we had to explicitly request our Google Now cards - or at least actively seek them out. With Android Wear, Google Now finally has the platform it requires to gently push cards throughout the day. We've found it incredibly useful as cards appear (almost magically) before we leave for work advising us of drive times, prior to boarding a train, or when returning to a parked car. And that's just to name a few.
As with voice recognition support, Apple and other competitors will be hard-pressed to compete with the sheer size and capability of Google Now. After all, it's all about the data, and who can really compete with Google on that score?
Google Now Cards Appear Exactly When Required
It's definitely early days, but it's starting to look like Android Wear may have actually solved the biggest question being asked of wearables the last year or so - namely, "what's the point"? With Developers just starting to get to grips with Android Wear apps (there's already over 50 new custom Android Wear apps available), Google's unique voice recognition and Google Now card delivery, and the giant head-start the search giant has achieved in reaching the market with a solid wearables platform - it's hard to see Apple (or anyone) catching up anytime soon.
Of course, Apple kinda makes a living on proving people wrong - so we'll see what Cupertino has to show us later this year.
For now, the wearables market squarely belongs to Google.