Brace yourself for a wave of Android-powered smart watches. Google has announced Android Wear, an OS designed specifically for wearables, and it already has a bunch of device and hardware partners signed on to support the initiative. The news comes with the usual promo video, which is filled with hipsters and feels like a TV commercial. I recommend the developer preview embedded below; it offers a better sense of how Android Wear works.
Providing contextual information is the central mission for the OS. Android Wear looks like a glorified version of Google Now shrunk down to fit on a tiny screen, but that's not such a bad idea. Google Now does an excellent job of displaying relevant information, and its voice integration is great.
Google says Android Wear can also be used to control devices remotely. The OS has a health and fitness monitoring component, too, and a developer preview is available for folks who want to start tinkering. The first Android Wear devices will reportedly start showing up next quarter.
According to The Verge, LG and Motorola are both prepping smart watches based on the OS. Google is also working with Asus, HTC, Samsung, and Fossil. It sounds like all of those companies will be coming out with smart watches first, but there are plans to extend Android Wear to other kinds of wearable devices eventually.