Google may be gearing up to unveil its very own smartwatch later this year, but when has it ever bogarted its own OS? Google executive Sundar Pichai revealed at SXSW that Google plans to release the Android SDK for wearables in two weeks.
Pichai said that Google is releasing the SDK for wearables well before the devices hit the market so that it can get “plenty of feedback” first, which obviously means Google would also be able to strengthen its own smartwatch.
But of course, smartwatches aren’t the only device Google thinks Android could power. Pichai mentioned that the software could one day be used to power a “smart jacket” with sensors. For some reason.
Pichai is a high-level Google exec, overseeing Android, Chrome, and apps like Gmail. He also oversees hardware, like the Nexus smartphone and tablet, Chromebook, and Chromecast. Pichai mentioned at the conference that Chromecast sales are now “in the millions.”
Google’s own smartwatch, which has not been confirmed by the company, is reportedly slated for release some time this year. A report from TechCrunch last month stated the watch would start shipping in mid- to late March, but a later report from CNET suggested the watch won’t make its big debut until June.
The smartwatch will reportedly come with a full-color display and an LCD background, as well as “Google Now” alerts, which are personalized alerts that include meeting alerts, traffic updates, events, sports scores, stocks, dinner reservations, weather alerts, flight updates, and more.
Google is said to be working with LG on the smartwatch, as it did with the Nexus 4 and Nexus 5 smartphone. The smartwatch is expected to be a paired device, requiring an Android phone.
Researchers from Canalys forecasted last month that smart bands would ship 8 million units in 2014. That number is expected to triple to 23 million next year, and by 2017, Canalys estimates over 45 million smart bands will be shipped.
Currently, Samsung holds the lead in the smartwatch market with a 54% market share, followed by Sony with a 19% market share, and Pebble with 16% of the market.
In addition to Samsung, Sony, and Pebble, Google may also be coming up against Apple, which has looooong been rumored to be developing an iWatch that may be solar-powered and would likely come with a greater health focus. Apple is reportedly working on a feature for iOS 8 called Healthbook, which would monitor the user’s vital signs, including heart rate, blood pressure, hydration, and possibly even blood data points like glucose levels, in addition to the usual “calories burned” and “steps taken” features.
Image source: talkandroid.com