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Google Brings Android to Smartwatches in Mobile Push

March 19 (Bloomberg) -- Google Inc. is bringing its Android software to smartwatches, working with manufacturers and chipmakers to further its push into connected devices.

The company introduced “Android Wear” yesterday, a project to extend the Android operating system to wearable gadgets including watches, Sundar Pichai, a senior vice president at Google, wrote in a blog post. Partners include device makers HTC Corp., Samsung Electronics Co. and LG Electronics Inc., along with chipmakers Intel Corp., Qualcomm Inc. and Broadcom Corp.

Google, whose Android software dominates the smartphone market, is rolling out new products to bring applications like maps and chat to consumers on the move. The Mountain View, California-based company previously released an early version of computerized eyewear called Google Glass and unveiled the Open Automotive Alliance, a partnership to bring Android into more vehicles.

“We’re always seeking new ways for technology to help people live their lives and this is just another step in that journey,” Pichai wrote. “Here’s to getting the most out of the many screens you use every day -- whether in your car, in your pocket or, very soon, on your wrist.”

Android Wear is starting with watches, which are slated to hit the market later this year. The devices will let users ask questions by voice and get answers, monitor their health and fitness and connect to TVs and other gadgets. Google also unveiled developer tools for the devices.

LG will introduce its first smartwatch device in the second quarter of this year running on Android Wear, it said in a statement. The company, which makes the Nexus 5 smartphone for Google, said the LG G Watch will work with Android-powered phones.

Motorola Mobility said it’s developing the Moto 360 watch using Android Wear. Watchmaker Fossil Group is also a partner.

Google acquired smartwatch designer WIMM Labs in 2012.

To contact the reporter on this story: Brian Womack in San Francisco at bwomack1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Pui-Wing Tam at ptam13@bloomberg.net Ari Levy

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