Google releasing Android SDK tailored for smartwatches, other wearables

Google has plans to release a SDK that will help developers and manufacturers put Android on smartwatches and other wearables, Sundar Pichai, Google SVP of Android and Chrome, announced at SXSW in Austin, TX on Sunday.

Pichai said the software framework is a "vision for developers of how we see this market working” and reiterates the rumours Google has been eyeing the wearables market. The wearables SDK will presumably be made for lower-grade hardware and tap into sensors found on smartwatches.

Up until now, smartwatch developers have had to rely on forking and heavily modifying Android code intended for smartphones and tablets. As we saw with the original Galaxy Gear released in September 2013, this can be a hard thing to do, and maybe ultimately why Samsung chose its Tizen operating system for its second version.

Google didn't name potential partners to use the Android wearables SDK, but given the nature of Android, it will be available for everyone. If rumours are to be believed, Google has teamed up with LG for a smartwatch launch in June. Of course, Pichai remained quiet on any broader plans. 

Wearables have become a fascination of the industry, with Pebble kicking things off in 2013, followed by Samsung and Sony making bigger plays as the smartphone market begins to slow down. HTC and Apple have also been tipped to have a wearable smartwatch in the works. 

It will be interesting to see what companies can do with the new software.