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Google Android SDK for smartwatches and wearables arriving this month

Sony smartwatch

Google's Sundar Pichai confirmed the company was planning to release an Android developer SDK specifically designed for smartwatches and wearables, with aims of launching in the next few weeks

Google may or may not be working on a smartwatch of its own, but it’s about to get easier for other manufacturers to make wearable technology using the company’s Android operating system. Sundar Pichai, Google’s SVP of Android and Chrome, confirmed that an Android SDK developed specifically for wearables and smartwatches would be arriving in the coming weeks.

Making the announcement at the SXSW conference in Austin, Texas, Pichai said the SKD will make it much easier for companies to make Android-powered wearables, although he declined to mention whether Google was working on any wearable devices itself. Instead, he said the company was approaching wearables on a “platform level”, meaning a focus on hooking the sensors normally found in smartwatches, such as altimeters, accelerometers and heart rate sensors, directly into the operating system at a basic level.

Google hopes that by standardising how those sensors transmit their data to Android, it will become the go-to operating system for other manufacturers. In its current form, Android isn’t particularly well suited to wearables – so much so that Samsung opted to move from Android to a Tizen operating system for its second generation Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo smartwatches.

According to Pichai, “when we say we say wearables, we are thinking much more broadly” than just smartwatches. Quite what the company has in mind is unclear, but if rumours of an LG-manufactured, Google-branded smartwatch turn out to be true, we could likely see smartwatches being the first of many different kinds of wearable technology in the near future.

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