Google to release SDK to get Android into wearables

Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) will release in two weeks a software-development kit for developers to let them more easily put Google's Android platform into wearable computing devices, according to a senior Google executive.

Sundar Pichai, Google's senior vice president of Android and Chrome, said at the South by Southwest conference Sunday that the search giant will use the SDK to "lay out the vision for developers in how we see this market working."

Pichai said he thinks about wearables "at the platform level" and is focused on how to have Android hook into devices. He also said, according to The Verge, that he sees similarities between how wearables are evolving and how the smartphone ecosystem developed. Smartphones are tiny computers, he said, but wearables are now becoming nexus points for a wide range of sensors. Google is now looking to standardize how sensors from wearables send information to and interface with Android, which should make it more palatable for developers to make wearables running the platform.

Google took something of a hit last month when Samsung Electronics, the largest maker of Android devices, unveiled two new smart watches running the Tizen operating system, not Android as its previous Galaxy Gear watch had. There are also rumors that Google is working with LG Electronics to develop its own smart watch, which could be unveiled at Google's I/O developer conference in June, according to CNET.

Pichai did not discuss any of the rumors at SXSW but he did say he thinks of wearables as more than watches and that "when we say we say wearables, we are thinking much more broadly" than just that. According to the Wall Street Journal, he tossed out the possibility that someday, Google's software would be used in a "smart jacket" with sensors.

"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." The "mesh" layer technology is where Google's $3.2 billion deal to acquire Nest Labs, a maker of smart thermostats, smoke alarms and other home gadgets, could come into play.

According to Re/code, as for Android in cars, Pichai said his vision is for cars not to come hardwired with any specific platform. Instead, he thinks it could work similarly to Google's Chromecast for TVs. The $35 Chromecast lets people send what they are viewing on their smartphones to larger TVs. With this setup, it would not matter if a person's phone and car operating system matched, he said. Google's Open Automotive Alliance, which was formed in January, is designed to make cars more Android-friendly.

For more:
- see this The Verge article
- see this CNET article
- see this WSJ article (sub. req.)
- see thus Re/code article

Related Articles:
Samsung unveils Galaxy Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo smart watches, running Tizen
HTC banks on One smartphone successor and its first wearables for 2014 turnaround
Google buys Nest Labs for $3.2B to get foothold in Internet of Things
Gartner: Wearables, Internet of Things will hasten personalized data sharing
Wearables make a splash at CES 2014, but might not be ready for mass appeal
Google launches Open Automotive Alliance to push Android into connected cars

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