(this is part 2 of my multi-part series on cross-platform technologies enabled by Visual Studio)
Microsoft Bing predicts wearables to be the hottest trend in 2015. You can check Bing Predictions technology trends right here: http://www.bing.com/trends/us/predictions/technology. According to these, wearables in 2015 are even more important than personal digital assistants, home automation, 3D printing and virtual reality gaming. I recently recorded a presentation for TechReadyTV, and some of the public ideas in this presentation are very relevant today.
So what are the wearables today, at least those wearables that are available to developers with existing or upcoming SDKs and APIs?
Let’s compare some wearable devices available today:
Wearables APIs: What’s in common
From the app prospective, since wearables are so lightweight as a platform, they commonly make use of several API tiers that are more specific to small devices:
- Actionable Notifications: wearables make an extensive use of notifications, including actionable notifications, i.e. those that call back into the host device app, like a phone. You can think of a actionable notification as a message with multiple attached actions-buttons. Android Wear SDK gives a good example of these.
- Glance, Watchface, Tiles etc – ways to present readable information on the screen. Android SDK has CanvasWatchFaceService for example, which allows developers drawing the face. Microsoft’s concept of tiles is perfect for wearables developers.
- Apps (optional) – some wearables may or may not have deployable apps (depending on the device and platform) . With apps come specialized controls that can present information on the small screens.
- History (cloud APIs) – typically wearables synchronize with the phone device and that device in tern synchronizes with the cloud
- Form factors: Microsoft Band is of band shape, with natural sequence of tiles. Android wear is round and square. Apple watch has a rectangular shape.
Microsoft and Visual Studio story with Wearables
With Visual Studio and C# you can develop cross platform wearable apps that run on Android Wear, Apple WatchKit, and we hope to see Band SDK coming out soon. This makes Visual Studio a unique Wearable development platform for all devices:
Using C# for making Android Wear and Apple Watchkit apps
Here’s a few apps I built with Visual Studio that run on Wearables:
Active Fitness is a cross-platform (Windows, Android, iOS) fitness, health and sport GPS tracking app and social network of more than a million users. Great for running, walking, cycling, hiking, mountain biking, skiing, snowboarding, urban sports, such as skateboarding, scooter and hundreds of other activities. Active Fitness motivates you by providing ways for sharing your activities with your buddies and friends. Active Fitness has leaderboards for any sports and activities and includes professionally designed training plans. Enjoy and stay fit!
Winter Sports is a cross-platform (Windows, Android, iOS) app, the official app of Professional Ski Instructors of America and American Association of Snowboard Instructors (PSIA-AASI). Beautiful GPS tracking, ski run analytics, snow reports for thousands of resorts, zoomable resort maps, activity tracking, customizable goals, a social network, leaderboards and ski lessons by snow pros. The app includes many innovations, including voice guidance.