While the Apple Watch’s success (or lack thereof) remains a point of considerable debate in the tech world, critics have surmised from the beginning that the device’s hardware and software will influence how other companies build their own smartwatches and smartwatch apps.
Now that influence is taking shape, most notably in the design of the upcoming Samsung Gear 2. It’s not so much the hardware design, which is small and round (in contrast to the small-but-square shape of the Apple Watch), but the software interface, which wholeheartedly embraces the same sort of rounded icons introduced by the Apple Watch.
The bigger question is whether the new Samsung Gear—along with the retooled Motorola Moto 360—can spark growth in Android apps for smartwatches. The Gear 2 features a variety of specialized apps, such as a heart-rate monitor—that suggests it contains the sensors necessary for a wide variety of software; other smartwatches and fitness bands on the market already include similar hardware.
Although many developers will likely hold off developing Android apps until they see traction with regard to device sales, anyone feeling adventurous can pick through the Android Wear API, which includes the tools necessary for building voice actions, wearable apps, and synced notifications.