Android Wear is no more, but the software continues under a new name: Wear OS by Google. The tech giant has decided to rebrand its wearable efforts, effective immediately – in part perhaps to try and appeal to more iPhone owners and to reinvigorate a platform that had grown a little stale.
“As our technology and partnerships have evolved, so have our users,” explains Google’s Dennis Troper in a blog post. “In 2017, one out of three new Android Wear watch owners also used an iPhone.”
“So as the watch industry gears up for another Baselworld next week, we’re announcing a new name that better reflects our technology, vision, and most important of all – the people who wear our watches.”
The Android Wear market has been relatively quiet for some time, with only a smattering of new smartwatches unveiled since the LG Style and the LG Sport in February 2017. Android Wear 2.0 was launched at the same time, bringing with it support for iOS.
However, since then there’s been so sign of Android Wear 3.0, while the biggest smartwatches to launch have all used proprietary software made by the watch manufacturer: The Apple Watch Series 3, the Samsung Gear Sport, and the recently unveiled Fitbit Versa to name three. Other device makers, like Pebble, have fallen by the wayside.
Watch makers such as Fossil have kept the Android Wear flag flying, but Google obviously feels it’s time for a refresh and an update. There’s a new landing page, a new Twitter feed, and new momentum ahead of the Baselworld expo next week, one of the biggest events of the year for those in the business of timepieces.
For the time being, Google hasn’t gone into too much detail about how the switch will work – presumably existing Android Wear watches will continue to get updates as the software evolves, while new devices will launch under the Wear OS banner.
According to Google, more than 50 watches launched under the Android Wear moniker since the wrist-based OS was first unveiled in 2014. Time will tell if Wear OS can appeal to more users than its predecessor did.