Google makes Android Wear for iOS official, giving Apple Watch a bit more …

31 Aug 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Android Smartwatches Now Work With iPhone.

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – Google is introducing an application that will connect Android smartwatches with Apple’s iPhone, escalating the rivals’ battle to strap their technology on people’s wrists. The software that powers the Google Inc.-friendly smartwatches will integrate with Apple Inc.’s iPhones through a new service, according to Jeff Chang, lead product manager for Android Wear. The first iOS-compatible device will be the LG Watch Urbane, with all-new Android Wear smartwatches from Huawei, Motorola and others also supporting iOS. The new option enables an iPhone to pair with a smartwatch from LG Electronics Inc., along with those planned from Asustek Computer Inc. and Huawei Technologies Co. “There’s a lot of different tastes out there,” Chang said. “Between round and square, sporty and traditional and classic and all that — I really think that there’s a wide variety of preferences there. And so we’re giving that choice to everyone.” Google is looking for new ways to make its Android Wear software more popular as it tries to woo customers from Apple, which released its watch earlier this year.

Until now, Android watches only worked with smartphones powered by Android software, just as the Apple Watch is designed to be tethered exclusively to the iPhone. In the second quarter, the Cupertino, California-based rival sold 3.6 million of the devices, or about two-thirds of smart wearables, while Android Wear took about 10 percent, according to Ramon Llamas, research manager for IDC’s wearables team.

Google’s new app, though, will enable the latest Android watches to link with the iPhone so people can quickly glance at their wrists for directions, fitness information and notifications about events, emails and Facebook updates. That roadblock is likely to discourage many iPhone owners from defecting from Apple to buy an Android watch unless Google eventually finds a way to overcome the obstacle, said IDC analyst Ramon Llamas. The new service for smartwatches with iPhones aims to use some of the most popular features from Android, including providing alerts for e-mails, calendar items and fitness updates. Most notably, Android Wear on iOS doesn’t support third-party apps and likely won’t allow developers to add Android Wear-compatible features to their iOS apps, according to The Verge, who got an early look at the functionality. Apple, which has a long history of demanding premium prices for its products, sells most of its watches for $350 to $1,000, though its luxury models cost more than $10,000.

Chang said longer term the company will look at what users prefer on iOS and Android devices — and prioritize features accordingly while abiding by Apple’s restrictions. Android watches aren’t going to be bought by “the fan boys and fan girls that have to have absolutely everything with an Apple logo on it,” Llamas said. “We are talking about going after people who are open to other possibilities with what they can do with their devices.” About 4 million Apple Watches were sold during the three months ended in June to command three-fourths of the worldwide smartwatch market, based on estimates from the research firm Strategy Analytics. IDC expects the smart-devices sector to grow to 89 million units in 2019 from 33 million this year, surpassing sales of basic wearables, which are forecast to increase to 66 million units in 2019 from 39 million this year. Google says all new Android Wear watches from now on will support iOS, including those from Asus, Motorola and Huawei, so iOS users will soon have a lot more choices when it comes to smartwatches.

Working with the new app, the Android smartwatches will be compatible with iPhones dating back to the 5, as long as their operating systems have been updated to at least iOS 8.2.

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