Update: We're preparing for our Moto 360 review this week and added information about new Sony and Asus smartwatches with Android Wear.
We put the first two Google-powered smartwatches on our wrists in TechRadar's Android Wear review, but concluded that the software is still best worn by early adopters.
Motorola's coveted Moto 360 may be the one with specs that catch up to Google's fairly impressive wearable software. It's launch event is September 4, just shy of the promised "summer" release date.
They're shaping up as fashionable as they are functional, and they run the same uniform smartwatch platform we already like. It basically extends Google's leading smartphone software to the body.
Android Wear supports both round and square watch faces, and the lineup won't stop there. Additional manufacturers are committed Android Wear smartwatches. HTC, and even Fossil may be next.
As Android head Sundar Pichai penned in the announcement, these app-driven time pieces understand the context of the world around you and deliver messages and reminders beamed directly to your wrist.
Convenient Google Now notifications are literally on hand thanks to Android Wear, and the ability to seek out information with voice controls outfits everyone with the all-encompassing power of the search engine.
What Android Wear does
Android Wear is intended to provide "information that moves with you" and so far it lives up to that promise. It puts the entire world inches from your suddenly-free fingertips.
It doesn't just tell the time. The wearable operating system makes suggestions based on time and it factors location into its context-sensitive data.
- This is merely the explainer. Read the Android Wear review
The best everyday habit example involves riding on a bus and seeing a Google Maps-powered notification countdown to an unfamiliar destination. "4 stops to: Jackson St." intelligently reads the watch. The scary guessing game is taken out of a public transit commute.
The new technology also tips off wearers to dangers that lurk, as demonstrated in Google's first Android Wear video. A "Jellyfish warning" prompt can be seen with a surfer's flick of the wrist.
A relevant list of nearby beaches saves the video's early adopters who can surf without worrying about the sting of the boneless and brainless ocean creature. Yes, it could save your life, or at least save you a lot of pain.
All of a sudden, digging that rectangular smartphone or, worse, phablet out of your pocket and pulling up a much more involved map or notification app seems so pedestrian.
Making time for families
Google seeds the idea that Android Wear can alleviate our addiction to smartphones in an effort to make more time and eye-contact with our families.
This concept is more practical than the similar idea the company has been floated when delivering the Google Glass Explorer Edition to beta testers. Smartwatches feel natural and unobtrusive.
A parent is able to attend breakfast with his family while keeping a close eye on the estimated commute time to work thanks to an on-wrist Google Now notification.
"No surprises" is the unofficial goal of Android Wear. Leaving too early and breezing through traffic would have filled this parent with breakfast-skipping regret. Leaving too late would've started his day with traffic-influenced anxiety.
'Okay Google' on the wrist
Even more touching is the dad who receives a Google Hangouts message right on his Android Wear smartwatch while bathing his son. "Dude, this game is insane!" writes the token friend who doesn't have such responsibilities.
The dad doesn't run to a TV or have to awkwardly palm his smartphone with soapy hands for an update. "Okay Google, what's the Syracuse score?" he asks his watch without pressing a button.
A scorecard of 28-27, naturally in favor of his college basketball team, pops up. He cheesily shouts "Yay" while raising his hands. His young, halfway washed son does the same without us knowing if he really knows why. He could easily be cheering for having more time with his dad.
The increasingly familiar "Okay Google" voice prompt opens up a world of possibilities beyond sports score updates. Android Wear smartwatches can handle questions like, "How many calories are in an avocado?" to more personal queries like, "What time does my flight leave?"
"Okay Google" can also accomplish tasks outsourced from a smartphone. Calling a taxi, making restaurant reservations, setting alarms and sending - not just receiving - texts is all possible to do hands-free with the Android Wear operating system.