Last Updated: March 18th, 2014

It's no mystery that Google has been poking around wearable gadgets for quite some time. The list of projects seems to keep growing as we hear about rumors of an LG-made smartwatch, another prototype watch designed by Motorola, and of course, Google's own Glass. Earlier today at SXSW, Sundar Pichai took to the stage to announce plans to release a brand new SDK for Android-based wearable devices in about two weeks.


Image: Engadget

Pichai explained that the the SDK will focus heavily on better access to sensor data and improving the way devices can communicate with each other. By delivering a common platform for interaction, Google hopes to make Android more attractive to manufacturers and sway them from developing completely custom operating systems of their own. He emphasized that the goal wasn't just to reach the current stream of smartwatches and fitness bands, but also less conventional products, like a jacket equipped with sensors.

Engadget reports that Google will eventually offer its own devices based on this platform, but that Sundar was quick to point out that it would be a while before such gadgets went to market. Collecting feedback from developers and evolving the platform to support the market would come first. No comments were made as to what devices would support the SDK or if there are any specific plans, but those details may become available with the release.

Developers, clear your schedules!

Source: Engadget, The Verge

Cody Toombs
Cody is a Software Engineer and Writer with a mildly overwhelming obsession with smartphones and the mobile world. If he’s been pulled away from the computer for any length of time, you might find him talking about cocktails and movies, sometimes resulting in the consumption of both.

  • Jooyoung Hong

    love that sundar picture haha

    • Senad

      Android takes 83.5% of LatAm mobile OS market

      Google's Android operating system Android was installed on 83.5 percent of smartphones sold in Argentina, Brazil and Mexico at the end of December, up 21.9 percentage points from the year before at 61.6 percent, according to eMarketer. Windows Phone had a 4.9 percent market share, iOS was at 4.3 percent and BlackBerry at 2.8 percent. Brazil had 30.3 million smartphones at the end of last year, with the figure expected to rise to 41.2 million this year and 70.5 million in 2017. At end-December, Mexico had 27.2 million smartphones, with the number expected to reach 33.3 million for this year and 54.4 million for 2017. Meanwhile, Argentina had 10.4 million at the end of last year, with the figure seen rising to 12.7 million this year and to 18.4 million in 2017. The overall total for Latin America was 113.5 million smartphones at the end of 2013, advancing to 145.6 million this year and 243 million in 2017.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      A Sundar Pictai if you will.

      God, that was awful.

      • Gaurav Arora

        You win the desi interwebz

      • sabby

        for people who are confused ..sundar means beautiful in hindi :D

  • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/cody-toombs/ Cody Toombs

    I seriously doubt this is the case, but there's a tiny bit of nagging speculation bouncing around in the back of my mind... I wonder if this is in any way contributing to the delay of the Google Glass update. It seems obvious that Glass will support the SDK in some capacity, and it would be a logical first device for developers to use in preparing apps. Perhaps adding support just ran a bit long.

    • Zargh

      Yeah, refactoring Glass so it uses this new Wearable Android OS variant seems logical. Only catch is that switching away from full Android would seemingly break the GDK which would be somewhat rough for Glass devs. Though I guess its "fair" since Google did say it could happen: https://developers.google.com/glass/develop/gdk/sneak-peek

      • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/cody-toombs/ Cody Toombs

        I can't be sure of this yet, but I don't believe there's any reason to abandon anything. I would expect that the SDK will interact with an extension to the existing Android platform. OEMs will just have to bake the extensions into their customized firmwares and it will provide a communication layer.

  • jamaall

    This is probably partly in response to Samsung's use of Tizen in their new watches

    • jazoom

      You reckon they just started working on this in the last 6 months? I think this was always going to happen.

      • jamaall

        Its quite possible that they took the Glass SDK and modified it to cover wearable technology in the past 6 months. Who knows, just a theory.

  • ConCal

    I can't wait to see what a Nexus Smartwatch has to offer!

  • https://steamcommunity.com/id/m-p-3 m-p{3}

    I'm wondering if this could be useful for a tighter integration with Android and smartwatches like the Pebble.

  • Kevin

    To ask the stupid question, would an SDK imply that it includes everything developers need to get started? An emulator, sample apps, the works?

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/cody-toombs/ Cody Toombs

      That's really not a stupid question. There are plenty of examples where SDKs don't really come with everything they need, like GDK for Glass, which doesn't include an emulator image. And fwiw, the sample apps are a bit limited in scope.

      As far as I'm aware, there aren't any details about what will come with the SDK. I'd like to think there will be some kind of simulator for sensors, but it's entirely possible that developers will have to write their own, sort of like the mock location providers.