Google plans several Android Wear updates in preparation for the iWatch

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Google’s first update to Android Wear is coming this week, and several more will follow it before the end of the year as Google moves to quickly iterate on its new wearable software platform. In an interview with CNET, two leading Android engineers lay out what we should expect to see in some future updates. This first one sounds as though it may not be much but a few useful features are coming down the road. That includes Google officially beginning to support custom watch faces from third-party developers: some developers have already figured out how to build them, but Google is working on a toolkit for developers that will allow watch faces to easily be made. Google previously teased details of this in a Google+ post.

In the market for wearable devices, Google is dressed and ready to go. Android Wear, which debuted in March as a modified form of Google’s smartphone and tabletoperating system that’s been tailored for wearables, is already used on three smartwatches: the Samsung Gear Live, the LG G Watch, and the Moto 360, set to launch later this week. Google, with “thousands” of Android Wear apps, knows that’s not enough. Archrival Apple will reportedly show off a wearable device of its own next week at a media event where it’s also expected to announce the next version of the iPhone. And at the IFA technology conference in Berlin this week, a handful of companies, including Sony and Samsung, are expected to talk about wearables. At stake is dominance in the nascent but promising market in wearable devices. In 2013, 9.7 million wearables were shipped, according to CCS Insight, a research firm. By the end of 2014, that figure is projected to jump to 22 million. And by 2018, 250 million wearables will be in use, the research firm estimates. For big tech companies, the appeal is having another route to extend their reach to consumers — by being able to offer them services with different spins , and by having new methods for gleaning information about users in ways that smartphones and tablets cannot.

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