A couple weeks back, we were lamenting the lack of any real standards for wearable devices. While there’s no absence of companies coming out with wearables, everyone seems to have a different way to do it. Some companies whip up a custom platform for their smartwatches, but at least leave them open to work with any phone you choose. Then there are companies like Samsung that lock-down interoperability, but put a more full-fledged OS on their watches themselves – the first Galaxy Gear got Android, while the new models run Tizen. Everyone doing things their own way has led to a lot of insular wearable tribes, but no overarching sense of community, the way an Android app will run on your new Sony Xperia Z2, just as it would on an old Samsung Galaxy S III. We could soon be seeing the first steps made towards doing something about that, as Google plans to introduce a new Android wearables SDK.
In about two weeks, Google will unveil this wearables SDK, aimed at getting Android onto devices like smartwatches and enabling it to collect the sort of sensor data that’s at the heart of so many wearable-based apps. Admittedly, this effort sounds a long way off from the sort of cross-device app compatibility we dream of, but a standard SDK is a big move in the right direction.
Maybe more exciting than the release of the SDK itself, Google promises to share its vision of wearables on Android; don’t count on any product announcements just yet (Sundar Pichai says any such news is still a ways off), but even a vague outline could be very interesting in its own right.