Android update will ease the way for more 'wearable' apps

Google is prepping an Android software development kit for wearable gadgets such as smart watches. 

Reuters
Google founder Sergey Brin poses for a portrait wearing Google Glass glasses during New York Fashion Week in this September 9, 2012 file photo.

Google is prepping a software development kit, or SDK, that will allow developers to create apps for wearable gadgets, such as smart watches. 

In a panel discussion at the South by Southwest festival, in Austin, Texas, Sundar Pichai, senior vice president of Android and Chrome, said the free SDK would launch in two weeks. 

"When we think of wearables, we think of it as a platform. We see a world of sensors," Mr. Pichai said, according to the Inquirer. "Sensors can be small and powerful, and gather a lot of information that can be useful for users. We want to build the right APIs for this world of sensors." API stands for application programming interface – essentially a set of guidelines for developers. 

Google, of course, is expected to push its Glass smart spectacles into wide release later this year. The company is also reportedly working on a smart watch, which will use hardware built by LG. 

The so-called "wearables" market, which could eventually encompass everything from fitness bands to Sony's vibrating smart wig, is expected to grow significantly in coming years.

The analytics firm Canalys recently forecasted that shipments of fitness bands alone – a segment that includes the popular FitBit line – could hit 23 million shipments by 2015, and 45 million shipments by 2017. 

The pressure for Google to establish a foothold in this market is mounting. Apple is said to be working on a smart watch – one that could include a "solar-charging layer" – and Microsoft is also apparently exploring a line of wearables. The Verge has reported that the Microsoft effort will be led by Alex Kipman, the Microsoft staffer that helped lead the team that developed the Xbox Kinect sensor. 

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.