News

Google sets sights on TVs, cars, watches

Google sets sights on TVs, cars, watches

GOOGLE:A Google self-driving vehicle drives around the parking lot at the Computer History Museum after a presentation in Mountain View, California May 13. Photo: Reuters/Stephen Lam

By Alexei Oreskovic

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Google Inc’s Android software is coming to cars, televisions and watches this year, as the Internet search giant races against Apple Inc and other tech companies to extend its business into a rapidly broadening field of Internet-connected devices.

Google’s free Android software runs on more than three out of every four smartphones sold globally: a valuable entry point for consumers to access its money-making online services such as Web search and maps.

At its annual developers’ conference on Wednesday, the company said the first cars running Android Auto software for navigation, music and messaging will hit showrooms later this year. More than 40 auto companies had signed onto its software development alliance, but Google did not say which ones will actually build Android into their cars in 2014.

Samsung and LG smartwatches running Android Wear, the version of Android tailored for wearable devices, go on sale later Wednesday.

And executives demonstrated how Android TV, reviving Google’s foray into streaming video, aims to give viewers an easy interface through which to search for and display content. TV version of Android comes four years after Google’s first effort to enter the living room, via Google TV, failed to catch on with consumers.

“It’s a land grab,” said Sameet Sinha, an analyst with investment bank B. Riley & Co. “The person who gets a platform which controls the devices could be the dominant operating system, not of just devices, it could be the operating system of your home.”

“New platforms offer new opportunities for hardware sales, advertising sales, e-commerce sales, all of these,” Sinha said.

PEP TALK FOR DEVELOPERS

Google also unveiled a service, called “Google Fit,” which collates and tracks a user’s health and personal fitness information similar to recently introduced services from Apple and Samsung. The tracking and analysis of health information is expected to become a big driver behind the adoption of smartwatches and other sensor-laden devices this year.

Google’s annual conference is designed to introduce new Android features to its army of developers, who are crucial in creating apps that keep the software popular as it competes with Apple’s iOS.

Apple and Google are now going head-to-head in emerging countries like India and China, where there remains room to grow in terms of smartphone adoption, especially as compared with saturated markets like the United States and Europe.

On Wednesday, Google said it is working with three manufacturers to develop a sub-$100 smartphone for the Indian market this fall.

Developed under the “Android One” initiative aimed at getting phones into the hands of as many people around the globe as possible, the phones will sport 4.5-inch screens and dual SIM cards, Google senior vice president Sundar Pichai told the conference.

(Reporting by Alexei Oreskovic; Editing by Jonathan Oatis, Bernard Orr)

Recent Headlines

in National

Bet you didn’t know: Fun facts about the Fourth

13-overlay

Even the most patriotic among us can learn something from these little-known facts about Independence Day.

in Local Sports

Post 7 sweeps first two games at 4th of July tournament

Fresh
bellingham post 7 baseball logo 1

Bellingham has a double-header again on Friday, facing the Northeast 49ers at 4:00 p.m. and the Spokane Northstars at 6:30 p.m at Rogers High School in Spokane.

in Sports

AP Source: Pacers give Monta Ellis 4 years, $44 million & NBA free agency roundup

Fresh
Dallas Mavericks point guard Monta Ellis warms up in front of an advertisement paid for by The Indiana Economic Development Corp. before an NBA preseason basketball game in Indianapolis, Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013. The IEDC has signed a deal with the Pacers for sponsoring the basketball court inside Bankers Life Fieldhouse. (AP Photo/AJ Mast)

A person with direct knowledge of the situation tells The Associated Press that Ellis has agreed to terms with the Pacers on a four-year deal worth $44 million and other NBA free agency news.

in Sports

Rangers’ Martin St. Louis announces retirement

Fresh
In this March 4, 2015, file photo, New York Rangers right wing Martin St. Louis (26) shoots against the Detroit Red Wings in the third period of an NHL hockey game in Detroit. Rangers forward Martin St. Louis is retiring after 16 NHL seasons, seven All Star selections and one Stanley Cup with the Tampa Bay Lightning. St. Louis made the announcement Thursday, July 2, 2015, roughly a month after helping the Rangers reach the Eastern Conference finals, where they lost to the Lightning in seven games. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)

The 40-year-old St. Louis was uncertain whether he would return for another season after the Rangers were eliminated, but it was clear that New York was not going to bring him back.

in Local Sports

Mariners recall Chris Taylor from AAA Tacoma

Fresh
FILE - In this Saturday, June 6, 2015, file photo, Seattle Mariners' Robinson Cano, right, walks on the field after he grounded into a double play with the bases loaded to end the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Tampa Bay Rays. Mariners' Willie Bloomquist (8) was left on base on the play. Cano isn't supposed to hear boos at home. It wasn't part of the deal when he signed for $240 million and 10 years in Seattle. But with the underperforming Mariners having the second-worst record in the American League, Cano's struggles have become the focus for the floundering franchise.

Utility infielder/outfielder Willie Bloomquist designated for assignment