Google is making its push to bring Android to wearable devices official, announcing the Android Wear project to extend its mobile OS to smartwatches and releasing a developer preview.
Sundar Pichai, Google’s senior vice president of Android, Chrome and Apps, announced Android Wear in a blog post, detailing features such as health and fitness monitoring, notifications, and voice control. Using the phrase “OK Google,” Android Wear users can command their smartwatch to ask questions, send texts, schedule events or control other devices.
The developer preview, available now, is designed to allow developers to tailor existing app notifications to Android Wear-powered watches. Additional APIs and developer resources are on the way, though Pichai stated that many existing Android apps will already work on wearable devices.
According to Pichai, Google is working with electronics manufacturers like Asus, HTC, LG, Motorola and Samsung; chip makers such as Broadcom, Imagination, Intel, MediaTek and Qualcomm; and the Fossil Group, a watch company, to bring Android Wear-powered smartwatches to market in 2014.
One device already announced is the Moto 360 from Motorola, scheduled for release this summer.
“We’ve barely scratched the surface of what’s possible with mobile technology,” Pichai wrote. “That’s why we’re so excited about wearables—they understand the context of the world around you, and you can interact with them simply and efficiently, with just a glance or a spoken word.”