Did Google changed his smartwatches OS name to send a fresh breeze to the smartwatch market or because he’s loosing it? If we take Google side, they say it is because the technology and partnerships have evolved. In a recent Google’s blog post from the Director of Product Management, Dennis Troper, that is what the Californian company is saying.
Plus, in this evolution they say that 30 % of last year Android Wear watch owners are using an iPhone and the “Android” part of the name could confuse and mislead some “potential customers” to think that this OS is only good for Android users. This “updated” OS will also optimize power and save battery life.
Is It Really Why?
A portion of Google’s answer is true: There’s definitely a good number of iPhone users that are starting to acquire a more stylish and customizable smartwatch (than the Apple Watch) and ”Android” in the OS name can mislead them. Still, in 2018, people are well-informed and they know if a specific wearable device would work or not with their phone.
So what else can push Google to change their operating system name? Android Wear has been launched 4 years ago but the last time that Google updated it was 2 years ago and it still came out with many bugs. Let’s be straight, the managing team seems to have lost interest of his own platform that lacks development and maintenance.
Let’s hope this time with this new “re branding”, Google will deliver what we are looking for: real improvements, consistent updates and new features. We will know more in their next developer conference that will take place in May.
What’s Has Changed With Wear OS?
As we speak, beside the look that is more Google style now, there is not much that has changed. The name style is now very similar to Google’s designs that you can find in apps like Google Assistant or Google Home. If you search for “AndroidWear” in the PlayStore, it will automatically pop you Wear OS instead (with a “was Android Wear” note):
The Wear OS logo looks bright with Google predominant colors: blue, yellow, green and red.
Android Wear VS Wear OS Logo
Google has recently released a list of smartwatches that will gets the Wear OS update pretty soon. You can click here if you want to see the list. They also announced that both iOS and Android apps with be updated in the next weeks, suggesting the users to leave their watch charging overnight connected to Wi-Fi to receive the new update when it will be available.
What We Should Expect?
Let’s hope that re branding the app will implicate the revamping of the OS platform with new features like old “Android Wear” users are waiting since day 1. Revamping the app will definitely be in mind at first but let’s keep our fingers crossed so that Google keep it into a long-term system that will evolve like the market and technology do.
Right now, Google has only launched a developer review for Wear OS that is intent to help software companies build their custom apps into the new platform. We will talk about the new features that should help save some battery life in the next topic.
This “build” (kind of Wear OS image made for testing purposes) is unfinished and “is not for daily or consumer use” as Google said. For now, this developer build is only available for the Huawei 2 Bluetooth and the Huawei Watch 2 Classic. This comes weeks after the release of the developer preview of Android P, the latest version of Android.
Wear OS New Features
If we base our self in the developer preview for Wear OS, there will be some nice features in the near future. Here’s the biggest features that will probably be implemented in most Wear OS smartwatches soon:
Dark UI system theme: The background/theme will now be darker/black to improve glanceability for Wear OS apps.
Limited background activity: Apps will not run in background “mode” anymore (unless the watch is charging) to increase power.
Radios OFF when watch is OFF body: Another way that Wear OS will improve power is by turning OFF Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and cellular radios when the watch is not being used on wrist for an extended period.
Wi-Fi OFF when BT is disconnected: The Wi-Fi will no longer be turned ON automatically when the Bluetooth is disconnected. This feature won’t be valid if the watch is on the charger.
More To Come (Let’s hope)
It is too early to speculate if Wear OS is really a good “replacement” for Android Wear. If we think about “branding”, yes it seems to be better since Google is putting his eggs in the same basket. They did it with Android Pay (now called Google Pay), making it an all-in-one payment system to simplify all transactions.
Will Wear OS gets the same kind of evolution in the close future? I’m pretty sure since they are behind Apple who got his own smartwatch (Apple Watch) and keeps improving his operating system (WatchOS). A strategy that paid off since Apple has sold more than 18 million smartwatches in 2017 according to IDC (International Data Corporation) in 2017. That is more than half of the smartwatches sold worldwide!
Fossil Group (brands like Diesel, Michael Kors and Emporio Armani), biggest Google’s partner has only sold 1.8 million units last year. They are probably looking positively this change to get back on track and reduce the gap between Samsung (3.6 million) and Garmin (2.7 million), closes runner-up companies.
We will know more after Google’s Developer Conference in May. Only time will tell…
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