This Android smartwatch is now essentially a remote control thanks to some new software we saw at CES 2024.
Imagine being able to dim the living room lights with a turn of the wrist. Or browse Netflix with a few taps of your fingers. At CES 2024 in Las Vegas, I had the chance to slip on an Android watch containing Doublepoint, some early software intended to turn smartwatches running Android’s WatchOS into a kind of remote control you can wear on your wrist.
A Finnish startup, Doublepoint’s software can make an Android watch into a general purpose controller for any device via a Bluetooth connection. It’s up to developers and app-makers to decide what a small gesture like tapping fingers or rotating your wrist will actually do, but watching it all in motion in several demos at a press event was a fascinating glimpse into the future.
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So for example, if you wave your arm like it’s a laptop mouse, Doublepoint on the watch can control a cursor on the screen. In another demo, a watch with the software on it navigated Netflix on an iPad when someone tapped their fingers together.
“It’s like a mouse that’s basically on your wrist all the time,” CTO Jamin Hu told me on the CES show floor.
The software also works in tandem with eye tracking and “RayCasting” to make headset screen navigation simpler.
Gesture commands aren’t at all new. For example, Apple’s Double Tap for Apple Watch is an extension of its AssistiveTouch feature. But Doublepoint’s technology will let users assign microgestures for any device running on Android’s smartwatch software.
As AR and VR continue to gain momentum, the future of personal computing is increasingly keyboardless and mouseless, using gestures to do what tapping and clicking do now.
The software will come to developers in the first half of this year, so we’re still a ways out from seeing this technology arrive on the watch you’re wearing right now — but there’s some momentum.
A partnership with chipmaker Qualcomm opens doors for the software to appear on even more devices. “Our hope is that every Qualcomm device or chip that ends up on a smartwatch will have this built in.”