Google is readying a version of its Android OS tailored for wearable devices. Google’s Sundar Pichai told the SXSW conference Sunday that it would be releasing an SDK for makers of wearable devices such as smartwatches in two weeks’ time.
The SDK will be aimed at other makers of smartwatches and wearables, even though Google itself is thought to be working on building wearable hardware — with a Mountain View smartwatch project rumoured for months. (Last year Google confirmed it previously bought a smartwatch maker called WIMM Labs).
The release of Google’s smartwatch has been slated for either mid to late March, or pushed out to June (although the company has not confirmed its plans).
As with its mobile strategy, the spread of Android is Google’s primary concern here — with the wearable SDK allowing the services it offers packaged with Android to reach even further, via other makers’ hardware.
According to the WSJ, which reported the SDK announcement earlier, Pichai said Google is releasing its Android software developer kit for wearable devices well before actual devices hit the market so the company gets “plenty of feedback” first.
It’s possible Google is hoping to garner feedback for continued development of its own smartwatch device, as part of the SDK initiative.
It’s not just smartwatches Google has its eye on here either. The WSJ reports Pichai saying the company hopes its Android platform helps developers create many types of wearable devices — with Pichai apparently throwing out a sensor-laden, Android-powered “smart jacket” scenario as one possibility.
The newspaper also notes Pichai was asked about Google’s recent acquisition of smart thermostat maker Nest Labs — and said Mountain View is thinking about creating a “mesh layer” of software to make its various devices work better together.