Google made some big product announcements on Wednesday, but one thing that never came up during the event was Android Wear. And, it seems Google does not want to remember the category outside the event also, as Android Wear’s dedicated section has disappeared from the Google Store home page as well.
It must be noted that the page can still be accessed via a Google search, but the company has failed to re-add the Google Android Wear page to the homepage’s heading. However, if you dig deeper you will find that it is not a casual mistake. Both Watch Sport and Watch Style are marked as “no longer available.” This is different from the “out of stock” status, which suggests that the gadgets would be available in the future. So, there are chances now that the LG Watch and LG Watch Style might not be available anymore, notes Android Authority.
In addition, when accessing the MODE watch bands page, a user is automatically redirected to the Google Store homepage. Either Google has abandoned the category completely to focus on popular products, or the company somehow just missed updating the page.
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Shutting the smartwatch range completely could not be a possibility simply because just a few days back, the search giant announced a beta program for the Google Android Wear based on Android 8.0 Oreo, the latest version of Android. “The Android Beta Program gives you an opportunity to try out prerelease versions of Android and Android Wear, and provide feedback. The feedback you provide on the beta will help us identify and fix issues, and make the platforms even better,” Google said earlier this week.
In addition, last month, Google announced that similar to Android Wear 2.0, Version 1.0 will also have standalone apps. To begin with, the company has updated the Play Store policy, encouraging developers to start building the app.
Google also made the latest Play Store version live, which is now available to download. Although there is not much visible difference in the current update, a few features such as FAB buttons, Quick Install buttons and Cookbooks have been added. The new version also hints that Google might not have shunned the wearable category altogether. The company has mentioned that the new Play Store update is available for both Android TV and Google Android Wear.
Further, the outlook for the wearable category is also positive in 2017. Gartner estimates that around 310.4 million wearables will be sold globally, an increase of 16.7% year over year. Net revenue generated from the sales would be around $30.5 billion. Further, Gartner notes that smartwatches from companies like ASUS, LG, Samsung, Huawei and Sony would account for 15% of the total smartwatch sales by 2021, while Apple will account for 25% of the market. The report also indicates that the sales of Android Wear would not be so bad that Google had to shun the devices overnight.
So, what could be the reason for Android Wear disappearing from the Google Store? Ben Schoon of 9to5google gives one good reason: “In short, the platform almost definitely isn’t dead, but Google clearly doesn’t care about it like it once did, and that’s probably because most people don’t really care about it either.”