Google’s Android operating system already powers countless phones and tablets (as well as a few TVs), but it might soon be coming en masse to another location: Your wrist. According to The Verge, Google SVP of Android and Chrome Sundar Pichai told the crowd at SXSW on Sunday that Google has plans to release a software development kit for Android-powered wearables within the next two weeks.
“We’ll lay out a vision for developers as to how we’ll see this market working,” Pichai said. But aside from that, an SDK will also provide developers with the tools needed to get these devices running. This could be huge — for both Android and wearables.
As wearable devices like smartwatches continue to gain in popularity, developers just entering the field could be more likely to look to Android, since there’s already such a massive user base for Android phones and tablets. And if Android-powered wearables work closely with their mobile counterparts, it could enhance the experience all around. Though Samsung’s Android-powered Galaxy Gear smartwatch wasn’t such a hit, I think that with some guidance from Google there’s still promise.
Then again, given Android’s history with fragmentation issues, it could also turn into a massive headache where certain Android-powered wearables are unable to work with certain smartphones running outdated software.
Google is likely taking issues like this into account, but Pichai didn’t go into great detail about the wearables OS, nor did he address Google’s own rumored smartwatch. We should get a better idea of the company’s plans when the SDK is released shortly.