Newer Android Wear Watches Now Work On iOS

31 Aug 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Android Wear Smartwatches Will Now Work With iPhone Too.

SAN FRANCISCO — 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. Google finally announced iOS support for Android Wear on Monday, making good on a string of rumors that have persisted since the last major Wear update and reached a crescendo last week when Huawei outed iOS support on an accidental Amazon listing. iPhone owners won’t get the full Wear experience that Android users get (see details below), but their smartwatch hardware options are about to explode. 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. As with Android, the iOS-compatible version of Android Wear will rely on an accompanying Android Wear app, which Google says is arriving in the App Store on Monday.

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. However, most future Android Wear watches—including models from Huawei, Asus, Motorola, and presumably even TAG Heuer—should be iPhone-compatible. 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. According to the Verge, Google promises that a half dozen watches will be supported on iOS by the end of the year, so we can probably expect the new Moto 360 to be among them. For now, the Android watches are most likely to appeal to iPhone owners reluctant to spend a lot of money on a device that remains more of a novelty than an essential gadget. In a blog post, Google highlights the watch’s main functions, like always-on notifications, fitness features, and more Google-Now-on-your-wrist stuff.

Of course, with iOS being the Fort Knox smartphone that it is, Google worked within those restrictions to create as near-complete an Android Wear experience on iPhone as on Android. 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.

For example, you won’t be able to download third-party watchfaces since Apple doesn’t allow competing app stores, and sending texts via your wrist is also more limited. Indeed, we’re probably looking at a very slim slice of potential converts: iPhone users who totally love the Google services universe—Gmail, Calendar and especially Google Now—and folks who want a smartwatch, but prefer the design of, say, a round-faced Huawei Watch over the lozenge-shaped Apple Watch. 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. Although limited now, Android releases more than half a dozen smartwatches a year that range in price from as low as $150 to as much as $800, with square or round faces, with different materials, colors, features, and displays. 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.

Google’s digital assistant is packed with surprise and delight features, sending notification cards on traffic conditions, flight reminders, weather alerts and other personally tailored tidbits at just the right moment. And of course, you can use Google Now to solve simple math problems, learn the latest sports scores, and pull off a host of other Googly search tricks directly from your watch. So while Android Wear for iOS doesn’t offer the complete Wear experience, it does support “the mass majority of Wear features we see our Android users using and loving,” according to my source at Google.

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