Google is preparing to take over the burgeoning field of “wearable technology”.
Sundar Pichai, who leads Android and Chrome, said Google will release an SDK, or software development kit in two weeks, for Android for wearable devices like smart watches.
Pichai announced the news at SXSW, and Rolfe Winkler at the WSJ reported his comments.
This will allow developers to make applications for small screen Android devices. It will also make it easier for hardware companies to use Android as the operating system on their own wearable gadgets.
With smartphone and tablet growth slowing, tech companies are looking at gadgets like smart watches as the next potential growth area.
Android, until now has not been designed for small devices, so it’s consuming more battery, and it doesn’t look quite right.
Samsung tried using Android for the Galaxy Gear, its smart watch, and the results were bad. It couldn’t last very long without a recharge. For the Gear 2, Samsung dropped Android in favour of Tizen, its own operating system.
Google is reportedly planning its own smartwatch, which it will use as a reference device for other manufacturers to follow.
Pichai says the SDK is coming out ahead of any other smartwatches so that it can get feedback and tweak the SDK.
Android is the world’s biggest operating system. It’s on 80% of all smartphones shipped, and it’s on the majority of tablets shipped. If the pattern holds, it will be on the majority of all smartwatches and whatever other wearable gadgets ship in the future.
Apple is also reportedly developing an iWatch, which would be a health-tracking fitness focused wearable gadget. Typically, Apple releases a product and then everyone else scrambles to copy what Apple has made.
We’ll see if Google can be out in front here and define the industry before Apple gets its chance.
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