Google Glass, Android Wear, and Apple Watch

I have both the Google Glass and Android Wear (Samsung Gear Live, Moto 360), and often times I wear them together.  People always come up with a question:  “How do you compare Google Glass and Android watches?”  Let me address couple of the view points here.  I would like to talk about Apple Watch, but since it has not been officially released yet, let’s say that shape-wise it is square and looks like a Gear Live, and features seem to be pretty similar to Android Wear, with the exceptions of the attempt to add more playful colors and features.  Lets discuss more about it once it is out.

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I am the first batch of the Google Glass Explorer and got my Glass mid 2013.  In the middle of this year, I first got the Gear Live, then later Moto 360.  I always find it peculiar that Glass is an old technology while Wear is a newer technology.  Should it not be easier to design a smart watch first before a glassware?

I do find a lot of similarities between Glass and Wear.  The fundamental similarity is that both are Android devices.  They are voice-input enabled and show you notifications.  You may install additional Android applications for you to personalize your experience and maximize your usage.  I see these as the true values for wearables.

Differences?  Glass does show a lot of capabilities that Android Wear is lack of at the moment.  Things that probably matter for most people would be sound, phone calls, video recording, pictures taking, hands-free with head-on display, GPS, wifi.  Unlike Android Wear, it can be used standalone;  Android Wear is only a companion gadget and has to be paired up with a phone.

Is Glass more superior?   Android Wear does provide a better touch-based interaction, comparing to the swiping at the side of the Glass frame.  You can also play simple games like Flopsy Droid on your watch.  Also commonly included are pedometers and heart activity sensor.  Glass also tends to get over-heated easily.  Water-resistance also plays a role here: you would almost never want to get your Glass wet at all, while Android Wear is water-resistant to certain degree.  When you are charging your watch at night, it also serves as a bedtime clock.

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For me, personally, although I own Glass longer than Wear, I have to say I prefer Android Wear over Glass for couple reasons.  First, there is the significant price gap ($1500 vs $200 price tag).  Second, especially when you add prescription to Glass, it gets heavy and hurts the ear when wearing it for an extended period of time.  Third, I do not personally find the additional features offered by Glass useful to my daily activities;  I do not normally take pictures other than at specific moments or while I am traveling.

I also find that even Glass is now publicly available within the US, Glass is still perceived as an anti-social gadget.  The term is defined in the Urban Dictionary as well.  Most of the people I know of who own Glass do not wear it themselves due to all various reasons.  I believe improving the marketing and advertising strategy for Glass may help.

Gadget preference is personal.  What’s yours?

9 comments

  1. I go for Moto 360. The sole reason is that the back of the strap is not metal. If I wear the Gear Live while using my mac, I am always concerned that the metallic strap would scratch both devices, so I often find myself removing the smart watch while using my computer. And as you know, I use my laptop for the rest of my day.

  2. I like the Moto 360 purely for the form. I’d be interested to see what kinds of data visualizations are possible with a round form factor vs square.

  3. I much prefer the Android Wear Moto 360 over Glass too (and indeed over Pebble). With the 360 you can actually respond to notifications that come in via SMS for example. Just speak into the watch and Google Voice takes care of it. I also love the visualizations it presents, very snazzy. The problem is the battery life. AND you will notice the watch does heat up too – thought nowhere near as bad as Glass, and it doesn’t shut down to cool off.

    The watch face options are awesome too.

  4. Couple of points to add:

    1. The battery life on the Moto 360 is it’s weak point. You need to charge it a lot (daily, if not more than once a day, depending on usage type).

    2. Yes, Android Wear wins hands-down on weather resistance. I’ve worn my watch on two hour runs in Dublin drizzle and no impact. I just wouldn’t even risk that with Glass.

    Interesting that Android Wear also gives you an option to pair with the Pebble using bluetooth.

  5. @Ultan: Wait, what? Tell me more about pairing Wear w Pebble, seems very meta, watch (smartphone) has a watch (smartwatch) has a watch (Pebble). We need to go deeper.

  6. Have you played with the Epson Moverio smart glasses? So far they seem more capable than the Google Glass, and AR firms seem to uniformly prefer them.

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