Google Will Release Android SDK for Wearables

Having developed the most popular platform for mobile devices, Google is now targeting wearables. On Sunday, a company executive announced that an Android software development kit (SDK) for wearables will be released soon.

The executive, Sundar Pichai, made the announcement at a South by Southwest (SXSW) media conference in Austin, Texas. He said the SDK will be released before the wearables market heats up, in order to get feedback. APIs for sensors in wearables are in development, Pichai said.

The Android-for-wearables platform is expected to utilize the same model as the standard Android -- free and customizable for manufacturers. The expected release date is within two weeks.

'Smart Jacket'

Google will be releasing its own LG-manufactured smart watch, with most recent projections pointing to June at the Google I/O conference. A variety of smart watches on the market already use some form of the open-source operating system, but there's lots of headroom -- the market is projected by Juniper Research to be as large as $19 billion by 2018.

In addition to watches, the category of wearables could also include glasses, such as Google Glass, intelligent hearing aids that function as a Bluetooth microphone/earpiece, clothing with sensors and connectivity, sensor-embedded shoes, intelligent jewelry, and other clothing and accessories.

At SXSW, Pichai mentioned an Android-based, sensor-packed "smart jacket" as an example product. Another distinct possibility is that some kinds of wearables -- such as intelligent in-the-ear devices, glasses or even jewelry -- could begin to emerge with phone capabilities.

Ross Rubin, principal analyst for industry research firm Reticle Research, noted that "we've seen Android jammed into all kinds of products without Google doing much to accommodate them," including alarm clocks, all-in-ones and, of course, watches.

'Endorsement of the Category'

Now, he noted, the company is "offering explicit support in a SDK," and that is "an endorsement of the...

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