Google announced Tuesday a new version of its Android software tailored for Internet-connected watches and other devices that can be worn instead of held.
Android Wear is expected to power an array of so-called smartwatches expected to be released later this year.
Google Inc. says Android watches are already being developed by some of the same device makers that sell popular smartphones running on similar software. The group includes Asus, HTC, LG Electronics, Google-owned Motorola and Samsung Electronics, which already sells a smartwatch running on another operating system.
The Android smartwatches may be competing against a widely anticipated smartwatch from iPhone maker Apple Inc. that is said to be introduced this year. Apple so far hasn't confirmed any plans for a smartwatch.
The tech giant made a developer preview available for programmers who want to design a wearable version of current Android apps. A software development kit (SDK) will be released later this year.