A few short years ago, I was really excited about smartwatches.

Looking back, it’s not hard to see why. Google’s early-2014 launch of the Android Wear platform did exactly what I had been hoping a smartwatch would come along and do: It provided a simple interface for the sorts of things that actually made sense for the form — things like smart notification management, smart on-the-go input, and smart context (via Google Now).

Sure, the platform also had support for sensors and all that other fancy stuff — but it was what Wear didn’t try to be that made it especially interesting. Unlike other wearable-tech efforts, the platform didn’t try to cram lots of tiny buttons and complex commands into an awkward-to-use wrist-based screen. It reframed the smartwatch to be less about performing grand tasks and more about transmitting pertinent info quickly and without fuss. Even today, that simplicity and notification-first focus (with both regular notifications and predictive Now-powered alerts) sets Wear apart from the more complicated and app-centric setups other smartwatch platforms provide.

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