In a move that was long rumored but seemed more like wishful thinking than reality, Google has announced that Android Wear will be compatible with iPhone devices and has already released the iOS app for users to try. Not only that, the features supported are remarkable: all of the fan-favorite Android Wear features made the list, and the experience seems to be similar to native Android. Let’s take a closer look and see how Android Wear handles iOS, and what devices are going to support this.
In a recent blog post, Google has confirmed that there is now compatibility for iOS on their Android Wear smartwatches. Although Android Wear has shown itself to be a fairly advanced and competitive product, it seems like the wearables market hasn’t exploded like Google and Apple expected them to. Even the Apple Watch has had trouble finding a crowd, and it seems like most of its users see it more as a gimmick with some fitness capabilities rather than a must-have product. So, it makes some sense for Google to extend the olive branch and bring in some users from the Apple side to their hardware platform.
You can download the iOS Android Wear app here, through iTunes. In terms of features, it’s fairly similar to Android – it supports things like Google Now cards on your watch, notification mirroring, fitness tracking, voice search and swappable watch faces. Basically, all of the core features are there – the only thing that is missing is an app ecosystem that takes advantage of it, like Android users have had for a while now. If adoption on the iOS side takes off, I could easily see more iOS developers incorporating support for Android Wear on their apps alongside Apple Watch, or even prioritizing Android Wear.
Android Wear devices confirmed for supporting iOS include fan favorites like the Moto 360 and the LG G Watch, and all of the upcoming Android Wear devices should also support iOS out of the box. Device adoption is not universal however, so you should make sure that your device is supported before attempting to get this going. Overall, it all works rather nicely and the Material interface on the device plays nicely with the native iOS apps and notifications.
Overall, this is a killer feature for Android Wear devices, and a really smart move by Google. I don’t think Google cares much for exclusivity, and would rather try and expand their hardware userbase to sell more watches rather than keep devices exclusive to Android. Android Wear is competitive with the software in the Apple Watch, and I feel that the experience is much better on the Google side of things, for once. They really have a gem on their hands, and the new iOS compatibility proves that. Google seemingly believes that Android Wear is a better product, and could win some users over from the Apple side. Time will tell if this strategy will work or just end up fizzling out, but for now, it makes sense and deserves being noted.