Google has announced that it is rebranding its Android Wear smartwatch operating system to Wear OS, and it’s not even too shy to admit that Apple’s success informed its decision to make the change. Apparently, even iPhone users have been buying Android Wear smartwatches, which leaves us wondering just wear the Apple Watch is in all this.
From Android Wear to Wear OS
In a post on the Google blog, Product Management Director Dennis Troper said that last year, one-third of the people who bought a watch running on the Android Wear OS were iPhone users. It will be interesting to see if this trend continues, given the apparent success of the Apple Watch, which was last year’s top-selling wearable device.
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Essentially, Google is rebranding Android Wear as Wear OS to make the name sound more inclusive since so many users of smartwatches running the OS are iPhone users. The new name removes the “Android” tag in acknowledgement that iPhone users don’t need to buy an Apple Watch to go with their iPhone. Google has even updated its website already to reflect the new name and added a new ad slogan, which is “Make every minute count.”
The company probably expects this rebranding to convince even more iPhone users to consider going with a watch running Watch OS rather than an Apple Watch. The name is even similar to the name Apple uses for the operating system that runs the Apple Watch, which is watchOS. Watch users can expect to see the new brand on their smartphone and watch in the coming weeks.
All that’s changing is the name
Apparently, the only thing about Android Wear that’s changing is the name. The technology behind Wear OS is still the same Linux kernel that runs Google’s Android family of operating systems, which includes Android itself and its variants, Android Headlines explains.
Some thought that Google abandoned its smartwatch OS late last year, and the lack of regular updates to it has frustrated some. Ars Technica notes that if Google wants Wear OS to finally take off, it will have to commit some time and resources to it. The top two smartwatch operating systems right now are Apple’s watchOS and Samsung’s Tizen, while Android Wear is in “distant third” place.
According to Google, there are now over 50 different smartwatches that are running its OS for wearable devices. Given that there’s such a wide variety of Android smartwatches, it does make sense that some Apple users want more options than just the one offered by the iPhone maker. Even some traditional high-end watch brands such as Louis Vuitton are making smartwatches running on Android’s OS for wearables, and since many Apple users are highly fashion-conscious, it should come as no surprise that a significant number of them would choose an Android watch from their favorite luxury brand over the Apple Watch.