Google has decided to breathe new life into its ailing Android Wear OS for smartwatches by changing up the name of the software. It’ll simply be called Wear OS by Google from now onwards, dropping the Android part of the moniker.
There’s a very straightforward reason for this switch. When Android Wear first hit the scene, it was only compatible with Android phones. Google later expanded support to iPhones as well. The previous branding might have misled some folks into thinking that the software only worked with Android devices.
That won’t be the case with Wear OS. Google claims that 1 out of every 3 Android Wear users owns an iPhone, so there might be some merit to the reasoning behind the switch. The new name will spread to all smartwatches and apps over the course of the next few weeks.
As for the future, Google says that it’s just scratched the surface of what’s possible with wearables and there’s more exciting work ahead. This is good news, because Android Wear has been struggling. Dropping the Android part of the name doesn’t change the fact that smartwatch sales are dropping fast, with the only exception being the Apple Watch.
Wear OS devices have found it tough to gain any kind of market share because of battery life issues, bulky models, expensive price tags, and lack of OEM and developer interest. Major OS upgrades are spaced out by years and not guaranteed to hit older devices. Android Wear 2.0 was launched more than a year ago and still hasn’t seen a shakeup.
Google’s upcoming I/O 2018 might change this sorry state of affairs in May, but it’s up to consumers to decide whether it’ll be enough to make them buy Android AKA Wear OS smartwatches again.