Sundar Pichai, Google’s SVP for Android, Apps and Chrome, announced at SXSW 2014 that an Android developer SDK specifically designed for wearable devices will be released in the next two weeks.
“In two weeks we are launching the first developer SDK for Android,” Pichai said. “That will lay out the vision for developers in how we see this market working.”
Though the smartwatch market or wearable tech market in general hasn’t achieved the sales growth of smartphones and tablets, Juniper Research stated that it will expand rapidly in the next years. The firm projected that the wearable tech market will hit $1.4 billion by the end of the year, before reaching $19 billion by 2018.
One of the reasons wearable tech hasn’t achieved the same level of popularity as smartphones and tablets is because we’re yet to see a device that is both functional and fashionable. Most wearable tech devices cater to sporty types, or those who engage in lots of physical activity, thus they are quite bulky and the aesthetics aren’t that impressive. But as brands realize that they need to appeal to more types of people, not only those who are interested in getting fit or healthy, and deliver something that nobody will hesitate to wear everyday, like a piece of jewelry, the market will boom. Besides, not everyone wants other people to know that they are wearing a piece of technology, some want it to be hidden or blend well with their wardrobe, like the Kickstarter project Ring, or the Cuff.
It also doesn’t help that more and more establishments are banning the use of Google Glass in their premises, in order to protect their patrons’ privacy – this even before the device rolls out to the general public. If people are going to be shunned from public places for the technology they’re wearing on their face, what’s the point of what’s the point of buying it when you’ve got no place to go?
Still, Google isn’t backing out of the wearable tech market by any means – the search giant is also said to be on the verge of unveiling a smartwatch-centric operating system later this month. The smartwatch OS will be used to power a device Google is building in collaboration with LG, and is set to be unveiled at the forthcoming Google I/O conference this June.