Google Plans to Release an Android SDK for Wearables

Google will launch an Android developers kit for wearables, according to Sundar Pichai, head of Android and Chrome, while speaking at the SXSW conference Monday.

While Pichai did not say whether Google itself will develop wearables, he did say that the kit will help developers create wearable devices that run on Android. Google, according to Pichai, is presently focused on looking at wearables from a “platform level,” positioning the company as a stakeholder in wearable technology without having to build their own wearables.

Pichai said that he sees similarities between the smartphone ecosystem and the wearable system. While smartphones are becoming smaller and more powerful computers, wearables are becoming a nexuses of an array of sensors.

He sees Google being able to provide a way to standardize how these sensors interact with Android, which will save many developers the hassle of having to create custom operating systems.

“We want to develop a set of common protocols by which they can work together,” Pichai said. “They need a mesh layer and they need a data layer by which they can all come together.”

Pichai stated that Google’s focus still remains on smartphones — be it the sub-$100 phone or a premium smartphone — and that the company is looking for ways to connect to the next billion users.

Apple has made its foray into the auto industry with CarPlay, and Pichai noted that many people will choose to stick to Apple’s iOS. But he likened this approach to entering a hotel room and realizing the in-room stereo system only works iOS devices.

“They’re probably losing at least half of their users,” he said.

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