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Google to release "wearable" Android within a fortnight


By Barry Collins

Posted on 10 Mar 2014 at 10:52

Google will launch a new version of Android designed to work on wearable devices within the next fortnight.

"In two weeks we are launching the first developer SDK for Android [wearables]," Sundar Pichai, Google's senior vice president of Android, Apps and Chrome said at the SXSW conference in Texas. "That will lay out the vision for developers in how we see this market working."

That vision goes beyond smartwatches, which have been the dominant form of wearable technology over the past year, and one in which Google has lost ground. Samsung recently dumped Android for the more lightweight Tizen OS on the Galaxy Gear 2, but Google hopes the new version of Android will be used in a much wider range of devices.

The company has, of course, already released beta versions of the Google Glass headset, which runs on Android. It has also reportedly commissioned LG to build a Nexus-branded smartwatch, which may be announced alongside the release of the SDK later this month.

Google bought smartwatch maker WIMM Labs last year, which released a device running on Android 2.1.

However, it's likely that Google also has its eye on the lucrative fitness tracker market, with devices such as the Fitbit Flex bands, Jawbone UP and Nike FuelBand now well established in the market.

Smart clothing is another potential outlet for an embedded version of Android. "When we say wearables we think about it much more broadly," Pichai said, according to a report on Re/code. "It’s for partners and developers to figure out. It could be a jacket... with sensors — I don’t know."

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