Days before the kickoff of its annual developer conference, Google is shedding more light on its efforts to penetrate the nascent wearable technology market.
A YouTube video published earlier this week offers details on the Android Wear software development kit, which allows developers to enhance existing apps or create entirely new ones that cater to wrist devices like smartwatches.
Several hardware makers are already committed to building Android wristwear, including LG with its G Watch and Motorola with its Moto 360.
Google first talked about Android Wear in March, saying that more details for developers would be forthcoming.
It’s part of a broader effort by Google to expand Android beyond phones and tablets, a project that also includes taking the operating system into cars. Google is expected to talk more about those efforts at next week’s Google I/O conference in San Francisco.
Some features of the Android Wear SDK include:
- A simplified interface that shows just the weather and a “G” icon, for voice and text search, on the home screen;
- “Useful information the moment you need it, and in a glance,” a clear nod to Google Now on Android phones, the idea being that it currently takes users too long to dig their phones out of their pockets and interact with them;
- Simple notifications, as well as “pages” with more data;
- Voice command capabilities; and
- The ability to gather sensor data and display it in real time on the wearables (a feature that’s pretty much expected, at this point).
The video focuses entirely on computing devices for the wrist — not face computers, a.k.a. Google Glass — and emphasizes that the wrist is a different beast from the smartphone.
“This is a fundamentally different device from other mobile devices,” Googler Tim Jordan said. “To really nail the user experience, you have to rethink it a little.”
Google’s developer conference comes on the heels of Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference, or WWDC, which took place in early June in San Francisco. There, Apple showed a host of new software features for developers, spanning desktop, mobile, home and wearable devices. Apple also showed HealthKit, a new platform for consolidating health and fitness data culled by third-party apps and hardware.
Since then, it has been reported that an Apple wearable device is expected to be unveiled in the fall.
See the latest Android Wear video from Google below:
Additional reporting by Ina Fried.