After becoming the world’s top mobile operating system for smartphones and tablets, Google’s Android software wants to become the leading platform for wearable devices.
CNET’s Daniel Terdiman, reporting from the SXSW conference, has just tweeted that Google’s Sundar Pichai confirmed that the Internet giant will be releasing its own Android software development kit (SDK) for wearable devices in the next two weeks.
The move indicates the search company’s interest in the emerging wearable devices market, which has not exploded yet but is being closely watched in part due to Apple’s rumored iWatch wearable project. Google itself is thought to be working on a smartwatch of its own…
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Google’s new Android head Sundar Pichai told the SXSW attendees that his company is planning on releasing a software development kit based on Android for makers of wearable devices, such as smartwatches.
Pichai said that Google is releasing its Android software developer kit for wearable devices well before actual devices hit the market so that the company gets “plenty of feedback” first.
The executive said Google’s software could even be used in a “smart jacket” with sensors. The SDK should help 3rd party devs build apps to power a myriad of wearable devices and foster the creation of an Android-driven wearable devices ecosystem.
In making it easier for developers to use Android on wearable devices, Google looks set to follow a playbook similar to the one it used in mobile devices, where it makes Android available for free to phone and tablet makers.
The software kit might give Google an opportunity to attract developers and bring users deeper into an ecosystem powered by its software.
It’s unclear whether this SDK is related to the Glass, an Android eyewear from Google.
For reference, Pichai heads much of Google’s growing hardware portfolio, including the Nexus line of smartphones and tablets, affordable Chromebook notebooks and companion devices like the Chromecast HDMI dongle.
Sales of Chromebooks are “in the millions,” he said at the conference.
Commenting on Google’s acquisition of Nest Labs, Pichai said the firm is considering creating a “mesh layer” of software to make its various devices work better together.
The Verge has this quote:
We want to develop a set of common protocols by which they can work together, they need a mesh layer and they need a data layer by which they can all come together. When we say wearables, we are thinking much more broadly.
The Journal report also reiterates that Google wants to release its own smartwatch, which should be manufactured by LG Electronics.
According to big media, a Google-branded smartwatch runs a slimmed down version of Android and includes Google Now functionality.
TechCrunch last month learned that an early prototype of the device ostensibly had a Pebble Steel-like metal band, square face and a colorful screen featuring “a gradient background where colors gently fade from one to the next”.
The Google-branded smartwatch should make its debut at the upcoming Google I/O 2014 conference, which runs June 25-26, 2014.