The Apple Watch release date is upon us and Google, despite the myriad attempts of its hardware partners, appears to still be having quite a few problems converting the masses to Android Wear. Choice is not the problem, as there are tons of devices at a range of price points to choose from. Ditto for design –– Android Wear devices come in all shapes and sizes. So what gives?
One could argue, rather easily, that people en masse just aren’t bothered or “turned on” by wearables. No one device has yet come up with that all-important killer feature and most, save for a couple of exquisitely designed timepieces, feel rather too much like overkill. And then there’s the “Pebble Issue” –– you know, the only smartwatch, bar the Apple Watch, people genuinely care about.
Google and its hardware partners basically have their work cut out for them in 2015. Apple’s entry to the space, regardless of what you think about the company itself or smartwatches in general, is HUGELY significant. Google HAS to do something in 2015 to remedy Android Wear’s ailing brand appeal –– and supporting iOS could be just what the doctor ordered.
Here’s a report from Apple Insider (citing o1net) outing the apparently plans to bring iOS-support to Android Wear during the second half of 2015:
“Prominent French publication 01net carried word of Google’s supposed plan on Tuesday, suggesting that iOS support options could be announced at Google’s I/O developer conference in May. Google’s ramp schedule might be pushed up if initial Apple Watch sales are high enough to pose a threat to the existing Android Wear ecosystem.”
Another report –– this time from The Verge (who spoke with sources close to Google) –– claims the Big G is very close to finalising the technical details that will bring full Android Wear support to Apple’s iOS platform.
“Some third-party developers have already hacked together a solution that makes Android Wear work on iOS. Another developer has discovered ‘iOS related code’ in Android 4.4 that he believes implies that Google has been working on iOS compatibility for Android Wear,” the report added.
Just as is the case with phones, Google’s key USP here is price; Android Wear devices will be significantly cheaper than even Apple’s base Apple Watch model. Investment firm Piper Jaffray expects mid-tier Apple Watch models to sell for between $499 and $549, while gold Apple Watch Edition versions could go for as much as $7,500.
Adding support for iOS into Android Wear opens up the platform to millions of additional users, all of whom, with Apple Watch, will be limited to just three models (well, two, no one –– save the super rich –– will be able to afford the gold-plated Apple Watch Edition). This would be the smartest move Google could take with its fledging Android Wear platform. Pebble supports both iOS and Android. It also doesn’t demand you to pick sides before purchase. And punters clearly appreciate this –– the company just sold its millionth smartwatch. Not bad for a company that started life on KickStarter.