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Google Adds Camera Control To Android Wear Smartwatches

By Anthony Thurston on July 11th 2014

Google has announced a neat new feature for anyone who has or is getting one of techy new Android Wear smart watches. Users will now be able to control their smartphone camera from the watch on their wrist.


Unfortunately, at least with the current generation of Android Wear watches, the watch can only act like a shutter release – though it does show a small image preview following the image being taken. But there is not functionality for live view on the watch, at least not yet.

Personally, I think this is both neat and pointless. Usually if I am taking a picture with my phone, it is in my hand, no need to use my watch to take the image. But I guess this could be useful in group photo situations where the only camera around is a phone.

Image of Android Wear Camera App via TNW

Image of Android Wear Camera App via TNW

[REWIND: The Fuji 55-200mm Lens Review, Canon/Nikon Take Note]

Where I think the potential for this is really interesting is when/if actual camera manufacturers make apps that allow you to control your camera via the smart watch on your wrist. I would love to be able to use the watch on my wrist to be able to trigger my camera, and or change basic settings. I don’t even need a true live view, maybe just a preview image that updates after a setting is changed so you can get a basic feel for what effect the changes you made have on the image you are going for.

The new Google update should be available now (though it may not show up in Play just yet, but it should shortly). So anyone with a watch already should be able to try this out.


What are your thoughts on this? Do you think it is a neat feature or do you agree with me that it is mostly pointless? Leave a comment below.

[via Engadget]

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Anthony Thurston is a photographer based in the Salem, Oregon area specializing in Boudoir. He recently started a new project, Fiercely Boudoir to help support the growing boudoir community. Find him over on Instagram. You may also connect with him via Email.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Abel Wilson

    I think what everyone fails to see here is the evolution of cameras and cellphones.
    Android 5.0 natively supports DNG images.
    Sony released those two pretty good lenses with inbuilt sensors in them, which you can hook up to your smartphone and take amazing pictures with.
    With Android Wear is JUST allowing shutter release right now, because it’s being held back by technology not catching up to them.

    This is probably what will happen in the next two years.

    You have a mildly powerful tablet, through which you can get live view of an image from a pretty powerful lens, that doesn’t have to be attached to your tablet.
    OR you could use your AndroidWear watch to control settings/trigger the shutter, etc. Maybe eventually you’ll get live view.
    Thereafter, you can use your Tablet to do some edits, perhaps use a new mobile version of Google’s NIK Plugins and voila! Awesome photo that could match a lot of pros.

    The traditional camera is going to die out very soon.

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  2. Anthony McFarlane

    Not a fan of smart watches yet.. so I find it pointless. Thanks for sharing

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    • Anthony Thurston

      For the price on them currently I am not much of a fan of them either, but the idea is what intrigues me.

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    • Michael Chapman

      Me too Anthony – both in your hand? Seriously? And, isn’t there a clock on the phone? :) Geez.

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