With Google I/O just days away, the company is giving developers (and the rest of us) more info on the upcoming Android Wear platform. Powering a new generation of smartwatches from Motorola, LG and others, the software will integrate features called Stacks and Pages, as well as different types of Replies.
In a video hosted by Timothy Jordan, a Google developer advocate, he explains that Stacks bundle multiple notifications together, inbox style. In other words, if you have multiple notifications from one application, you won't need to endlessly scroll on your watch to read them. You'll be able to see how many alerts are waiting from a given app and start going through them. (Skip to 3-minute mark in the video to get right to the good stuff.)
Pages, another interface element of Android Wear, is designed to give you more information about a particular notification across multiple pages. Jordan says that Stacks and Pages can be combined if developers so choose.
So what about Replies? Using your voice, you can respond to incoming notifications via your Android Wear device's built-in microphone. You can also reply using predefined canned phrases. As Google has demonstrated before, you'll be able to conduct Google Voice searches as well, just by speaking into your wrist. However, it doesn't look as though Android Wear watches will sport built-in speakers for voice calls.
Google says that developers won't need to lift a finger for getting their notifications and even their enhanced notifications to show up on Android Wear watches. However, they will have to add a few lines of codes to get Stacks, Pages and Replies up and running.
As reports continue to point to an Apple iWatch launch in the fall, it looks as though Google will have a head start both with developers and shoppers this summer. The LG G Watch and Moto 360 are both expected to launch soon. But it remains to be seen whether these devices will have all the features consumers are looking for in a category that hasn't yet hit its stride.