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Android Wear smart watches the next big Google thing

Android Wear smart watches the next big Google thing Watches take center stage at conference Benny Evangelista Updated 8:33 pm, Thursday, June 26, 2014

People attending the Google developer conference in San Francisco find a place to lounge during the event, where Google introduced new products. Photo: James Tensuan, The Chronicle People attending the Google developer conference in San Francisco... The conference is crowded with people wanting to learn more about Google products including smart watches and devices for homes and cars. Photo: James Tensuan, The Chronicle The conference is crowded with people wanting to learn more about... People find their way around the Google developers conference, where the Mountain View company outlined its plans for new products and services. Photo: James Tensuan, The Chronicle People find their way around the Google developers conference,... Director of Android engineering Patrick Brady is projected on a screen during a presentation. Photo: James Tensuan, The Chronicle Director of Android engineering Patrick Brady is projected on a... A man passes the Google I/O logo before the keynote speech at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, Calif. on Wednesday, June 215, 2014. Google unveiled new products geared towards the home, automobiles and wearables at their annual I/O conference. Photo: James Tensuan, The Chronicle A man passes the Google I/O logo before the keynote speech at the... A protester holds a sign representing evictions in San Francisco shaped like a google map pin in front of Google I/O in San Francisco Calif. on Wednesday, June 25, 2014. Photo: Alex Washburn, Special To The Chronicle | Buy this photo A protester holds a sign representing evictions in San Francisco... Roberto Viti of Italy takes a photo of an anti Google banner while waiting to enter this year's Google I/O in San Francisco Calif. on Wednesday, June 25, 2014. Photo: Alex Washburn, Special To The Chronicle | Buy this photo Roberto Viti of Italy takes a photo of an anti Google banner while...

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replica watch Watches have gone slightly out of fashion as consumers adopted mobile phones to keep time, but Google is making wrists the next battleground for wearable computing.

omega watches The debut of three Android Wear smart watches was the highlight of Google's keynote presentation kicking off its annual Google I/O developers conference at Moscone Center on Wednesday.

rolex watches These were not the walkie-talkie watches made famous by comic book cop Dick Tracy . The LG G Watch and the Samsung Gear Live, both available for advance orders immediately, and the upcoming Motorola Moto 360, are basically small smartphones with wrist bands, capable of ordering a pizza, monitoring heart rates or checking the weather.

replica watch And with that computing power, Google wants to bring a "seamless, contextually relevant experience that follows consumers around 24 hours a day."

rolex watches "Android Wear gives you what you need right when you want it," said David Singleton , Google's director of Android engineering, during the 2 1/2-hour keynote.

But Gartner research analyst Brian Blau said Google put too much emphasis on smart watches as a potential replacement for smartphones or tablets, especially because the screens are only wrist size.

"It's a nice accessory, and it can be a replacement for some functionality, but tablets give you a bigger screen experience," he said. "And TVs and computers, those things are not going away. And people are still going to have to work and need some sort of computing device to work on."

The Mountain View company that started as a Web search engine isn't content that more than 1 billion people already use an Android device. Google is redesigning its Android mobile operating system - now code named Android L - to work seamlessly across a wide range of devices.

Google outlined Android Auto, which is a new name for Google's previously announced connected car initiative. The platform syncs Android devices with cars that Google said will start rolling off dealer lots later this year.

With Android Auto, drivers could access Google Maps, music playlists and incoming messages using a car's control buttons and voice-control software that Google is refining.

Google also used the conference to introduce Android TV, taking the platform into television set-top boxes and directly into some of next year's TV models made by Sony, Sharp and TPVision.

Android TV is an advance on Google's Chromecast streaming video dongle, which went on sale last year, although Google failed to crack the market with Google TV.

Google hopes the 6,000 developers attending the two-day conference, and an estimated 1 million more who are watching it online, spread the Android Wear gospel and build products that work with the platform.

Google gave those in attendance either a Samsung Gear Live or LG G watch to take home.

Google is battling Apple for supremacy in the smartphone and tablet markets, and the competition is heating up between the two for control of the home and the car.

Mike Arney, a principal at design consulting firm Continuum, said Apple could still come out ahead because of its mastery of product design.

"Just look at the iconic white ear buds, and later, their acquisition of Beats," Arney said in an e-mail. "Not only could Apple win the race to the wrist, but extend that to the house, body and car ecosystem."

Benny Evangelista is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. E-mail: bevangelista@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @ChronicleBenny