Google releases ‘Android Wear’ SDK developer preview, watches from LG, Moto & others due next quarter

silver_metal_600_00010Ahead of the release of Apple’s much rumored “iWatch” wearable product, Google has now officially announced Android’s entrance into wearables with project “Android Wear.” The Android Wear SDK allows developers to integrate a number of features into Android powered wearables and relies heavily on Google Now functionality, as we were first to report late last year.

Google also confirmed that it’s working with a handful of partners to bring Android Wear powered wearables to market by later this year:

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Asus, HTC, LG, Motorola and Samsung; chip makers Broadcom, Imagination, Intel, Mediatek and Qualcomm; and fashion brands like the Fossil Group to bring you watches powered by Android Wear later this year.’

What can developers do with Android Wear? Google says the devices will be capable of displaying, for example, the latest posts and updates from social and messaging apps, answers via “OK Google” voice commands and Google Now-like functionality, as well as a number of fitness and health related data points. Google is also allowing Android Wear devices to talk with other devices like your phone or Chrome device through voice commands:

Your key to a multiscreen world. Android Wear lets you access and control other devices from your wrist. Just say “Ok Google” to fire up a music playlist on your phone, or cast your favorite movie to your TV. There’s a lot of possibilities here so we’re eager to see what developers build.

Last year, we were first to report that Google was planning on releasing wearables that would heavily rely on Google Now functionality. Another hint came when Google picked up WIMM Labs last year, a company that was building a slick Android based smartwatch SDK.

We reported as far back as July of last year that Apple had begun assembling a team of sensor and fitness experts to work under key Apple executives on its much rumored wearables project. Since, has Apple continued to hire other experts from medical and fitness fields with experience in everything from sensor-packed medical monitoring devices to biomedical technologies, glucose sensors, and general fitness devices. Most recently we revealed Apple’s in-development fitness and health app codenamed “Healthbook” that would be capable of tracking fitness related statistics and monitoring vital signs like blood pressure, heart rate, hydration levels and more.

Google is releasing a developer preview starting today that can be downloaded from that will allow devs to bring features from their existing Android apps to to smartwatches and other wearables that are running Android Wear. Google posted another video (below) announcing the developer preview releasing today:

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  1. this is awesome:) can’t wait to get hands on the SDK

  2. jakexb - 9 years ago

    Call me when this is an actual product that people can touch. This video is still a concept exploration in an attempt to look like less of a copycat when Apple releases the iwatch.

  3. Hahaha… that’s all I can say! I just hope Apple won’t come up with these hideous, ugly wearable stuff. I won’t even wear one of those, it’s too conspicuous. I don’t wear jewelries except my wedding ring.

  4. The Moto 360 image in the post is real and will be available in summer.
    That is a very nice looking device and if it weren’t an android device I would buy one.

    • taoprophet420 - 9 years ago

      It is way to thick, you want something light and comfortable on your wrist. All these devices look like an extension of a smart phone. I would rather pull out my phone to check direction,emails, weather and other basic things shown in the 2 promo videos.

      Talking to a step in your wrist won’t work in real life situations much. Ok google on the subway talking to a watch will pick up background noise and you’ll have to try several times to get the information you. wanted.

      Why would Samsung make watches for android when they just switched away from it? They already have 3 smart watches are they trying to fling shit and see what sticks?

      I’m glad Apple is taking their time on the iWatch. I hope it is heavily focused on health with lots of sensors. I really don’t want to check email, get directions or other functions I can easily do on my iPhone. I do t want to take pictures , make phone calls or video conference with my wrist or have other Dick Tracey things.

      • Oflife (@oflife) - 9 years ago

        Re form factor, I agree, but have owned as series of Android phones (now have a Note 3, probably the best device on planet Earth at present), and I now use Google Voice frequently in all conditions where there is a signal, and even in noisy environments, as long as I hold the microphone up to my mouth, it understands what I say above any background noise. It previews what it thinks you are saying in real time as you speak, so if it misinterprets, you just try again. I am blown away to be honest, and I used to hang out with the guys who developed SIRI (at SRI) before Apple bought them. (SIRI is different in that it is conversational, so in a way, more powerful, but it is not as versatile as Google Voice.)

  5. chalty669 - 9 years ago

    That moto 360 sure looks slick. Although where are all the details? I’m sure apple has had prototypes like these for years tucked away in a secret lab. Also how did they get an edge to edge screen on a circular screen? Isn’t it rare to see screens now with more popular screen sizes with no bezel? I’m not gonna hold my breath till I see a working pro type of the moto 360…. Period.

  6. ok Google show me ads on my wrist….um no thanks.

  7. Too big and bulky. I wont wear these until they are smaller and not so ugly. The round one is better than the square though. I think the square one need to be curved.

  8. iphonenick (@iphonenick) - 9 years ago

    Why isn’t anyone in the Google video wearing Glass?

  9. b9bot - 9 years ago

    Oh look now Google is copying Samsung. That’s as large as a silver dollar and as thick as 10 silver dollars stacked up on your wrist. Why?
    Apple won’t make anything this big or UGLY!

    • Thick, heavy watches are fairly typical and it’ll probably be several years before you can make a paper thin watch face with a CPU, memory and a battery that lasts longer than a few hours.

      Personally, I think both the watch and Android Wear OS look phenomenal. I’m sure Apple will have something equally sexy but they’ll need something that’s truly different ’cause right now Google has my attention.

  10. Anoop Menon - 9 years ago

    We will be waiting for the SDK as a lot of good innovation can be build into products like this. But again having a watch as an extension of cellphone, many audience will not like I assume. High time some primary agency asks all these manufactures to stick on to 1-2 types of standard adapters and pins. Earth is becoming a junkyard with adapters/chargers.

  11. Seriously, this is sexy, sexy, sexy!! Apple will have a lot to contend with when they release the iWatch and honestly it’ll have to do something that Google hasn’t thought of yet because this is essentially what a smartwatch should look like and how it should operate.

    The Galaxy Gear is a piece of garbage but these Android Wear watches look amazing!! For once I’m jealous of Android users. Pretty certain it’ll happen but hoping Google will make sure the SDK is compatible with iOS.

  12. B Vox (@B_Vox_Pro) - 9 years ago

    Hey @JordanKahn, I think you are posting in the wrong section, this is 9to5mac…

  13. This just makes me even more excited about the iWatch.


Avatar for Jordan Kahn Jordan Kahn

Jordan writes about all things Apple as Senior Editor of 9to5Mac, & contributes to 9to5Google, 9to5Toys, & He also co-authors 9to5Mac’s Logic Pros series.