SXSW revelation: Android SDK for wearables

Mar 11, 2014 by Nancy Owano weblog

(Phys.org) —If all the world eventually gets to love wearable computing gear then Google will be most gratified to know that all the world will love wearables running Android. Signs are in the air that, at least, all Android-leaning developers will get their chance to make a difference in the future wearables marketplace with the Android SDK-to-come. When is it coming? Soon. How soon? The word now out is in just two weeks' time. At a Sunday talk at the Austin, Texas, South by Southwest conference(SXSW) a Google executive revealed that Google plans to release a software development kit later this month. The SDK will allow third-party developers to build Android software for use on wearable devices. As Forbes noted, this move will support a standard method for sensors to talk to Android.

Sundar Pichai, Google's senior vice president of Android, Apps, and Chrome, made the announcement. The wearables category, for now, has largely been illustrated in the media by showing pictures of smartwatches and fitness-tracking bands. Arms and wrists aside, Pichai hopes the SDK will stoke developers' imaginations, supporting Google's goal for Android to be an OS in numerous wearable form factors.

Pichai, who joined Google in 2004 and helped lead the development of Google Toolbar and Google Chrome, said developer feedback from the SDK would be collected, according to Engadget, before moving forward with any specific product announcements in this area.

Technology analysts still see wearables as at an early stage, and the SDK is a signal that, though nascent, wearables could be another significant shift in enabling people to expand their connectivity to information from laptop, phone and tablet screens into a world where information is obtained via devices with sensors worn on the body.

In a Google+ post, Pinchai wrote in September last year that Android innovation was driving "tremendous ecosystem momentum" and he was excited to share the fact that "we've now passed 1 billion Android device activations."

Analysts elsewhere see an SDK for wearables from Google as contributing all the more to Android's healthy portion of market share. According to Gartner's recent findings for worldwide tablet sales in 2013, Android captured 61.9 percent of the market, with Android becoming the topmost popular tablet platform.

Explore further: Google partners with automakers for on-board Android

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