Google pips Apple in race to unveil smartwatch

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iol scitech june 26 google gear watch AFP A Samsung Gear Live watch is seen on display during the Google I/O Developers Conference.

San Francisco - Google on Wednesday sounded the starting gun in the smartwatch wars – unveiling three voice-activated devices which offer the main functions of a phone on a wristwatch.

The tech giant launched its Android Wear watches, which all boast colour touchscreens and can be linked to your mobile using a wireless connection.

The devices will let users to see everything from details of an upcoming flight to their text messages – allowing them to leave their phones in their pocket for most of the day.

During the keynote address at a conference in California, senior Google executives explained that the Samsung Gear Live, the LG G Watch and the Moto 360 will run their own versions of Google’s Android operating system.

The announcement was designed to get ahead of Apple, which has reportedly been working on its own smartwatch – dubbed the iWatch – but has yet to reveal any designs.

Google revealed that two of the watches, those manufactured by LG and Samsung, will be available to buy next month, while the Moto model should hit the shelves later this year.

iol scitec june 26 moto watch A representative presents a Motorola Moto 360 watch is seen during the Google I/O Developers Conference. AFP

And David Singleton, Google’s engineering director, demonstrated one of the apps on the watch, which allowed him to order and pay for a pizza by pressing three buttons in a process that took less than 20 seconds.

He described the design as “revolutionary”, telling developers: “We’re right at the beginning of a new phase of the miniaturisation of technology, which means it’s finally possible to make a small computer that can fit comfortably on your body all day long.”

Analysts predict that by the end of this year, more than 19 million wearable smartwatches will have been sold worldwide. - Daily Mail

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