Google has released a new version of its Android software tailored for Internet-connected watches and other devices that can be worn instead of held.

A sign outside of Google headquarter in Mountain View, California (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

The redesigned Android announced Tuesday 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 expected to be introduced this year. Apple so far hasn't confirmed any plans for a smartwatch.

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