Samsung and LG’s first Android Wear smartwatches go on sale

Android Wear makes its debut on two intelligent, wrist-worn timekeeping devices that wirelessly connect to your smartphone. But what’s the point? Let’s have a look…

Google's announced that two smartwatches powered by its Android operating system are now available to pre-order ahead of their official release date next month.

The LG G Watch and Samsung Gear Live, both rectangular in design and built on the new Android Wear smartwatch platform, will be shipped out to customers on 7 July. The circular Motorola Moto 360 will also be released "later this summer", Google said.

As long as you've got an Android smartphone running on Android 4.3 or later - check 'About device' in your Settings app - Android smartwatches connect to your phone wirelessly, making tons of handy features wrist-accessible.

Samsung Gear Live and LG G Watch cost $200 (£118) and $229 (£145) respectively.

JK Shin, Samsung Mobile's chief executive, said: "Samsung's been a pioneer in the quickly-evolving wearable market, and the launch of Gear Live furthers our efforts to deliver a simple and intuitive wearable experience."

"Watches powered by Android Wear aim to help people get access to useful information the moment you need it, at a glance," added Android boss Sundar Pichai.

So, what can Android smartwatches actually do? Well, much of Android Wear's user interface is based on the Google Now app, which you've probably used on your Android smartphone.

You'll also have Google Maps navigation on your wrist, as well as being able to schedule reminders, track your fitness and measure your heart rate with a few taps and swipes.

If using your finger's too much effort, saying "OK Google" will prepare your watch to follow a voice command in the same way that Google Glass eyewear operates. You'll be able to ask for a weather report, or how long a bus ride's going to take, for example.

Android may have got there first, but its rival Apple's rumoured to be working on a smartwatch of its own - most likely to be called the iWatch - so even if you're not an Android user, your chance to own a smartwatch might only be a matter of time.

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