Android-Powered Wearable Tech Is on the Way
At SXSW 2014, Sundar Pichai, Google's head of Android and Chrome, revealed a big announcement: Android-powered (non-Google Glass) wearable tech is in our future. A developer SDK for smart watches, smart glasses, and maybe even smart contact lenses that run on Android will launch in about two weeks.
This means that even more of your favorite Google services — Gmail, Calendar, Hangouts, etc. — will be accessible at any time, somewhere on your body. A developer software development kit, or SDK, allows any capable engineer to quickly implement Android software for hardware. Google will then be able to receive data provided by the sensors in that hardware and standardize Android across devices like Galaxy Gear and the Qualcomm Toq. Get ready for even more wearable computing via Google!
Wearable tech wasn't the only thing on the Google exec's mind. Sundar had a lot of things to say about Google's most buzz-worthy moves.
Google recently acquired Nest, the smart smoke detector and smart thermostat company, for a whopping $3.2 billion. The acquisition made many Nest fans nervous. Would Google force all Nest users to sign up for Google+? Moderator John Battelle prompted the VP with this question, to which Sundar answered:
"We are thinking about the devices made by our ecosystem partners. We need a mesh layer for this data. Google is thinking hard about the layer that connects these devices together."
Takeaway? It wasn't exactly an admission that Nest and Google+ will somehow be integrated in the future, but it does hint at some sort of connectivity to the user's Google account.
The messaging service was bought by Facebook for an astounding $19 billion. Sundar was asked how Google feels about the acquisition, since the company owns very similar products (Google Hangouts, chatting via email, etc.).
"This space is evolving very rapidly. What makes WhatsApp possible is the smartphone evolution. To me, the [success of WhatsApp] is evidence that the Android platform is working on scale. Services like WhatsApp and Dropbox have the same access to our API. Staying open is the guiding principle under which we operate."
Stay tuned for more South by Southwest Interactive news from Austin, TX!