Google just gave the Apple Watch meaningful competition. As of today, Android Wear is available for iOS with the iPhone 5 (and above) and running at least iOS 8.2. It’s a rumour we’ve heard a lot about, and now Google is making it official.
That’s the good news. The bad news is only new and upcoming hardware will be included. Right now, Android Wear for iOS will only work on the current LG Watch Urbane and the upcoming ASUS ZenWatch 2 and Huawei Watch. 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.
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. 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.
But Android Wear brings two clear advantages to the iPhone smartwatch game: choice and price. Although limited now, Android releases more than half a dozen smartwatches a year that range in price from as low as $US150 to as much as $US800, with square or round faces, with different materials, colours, features and displays.
Also, it may hopefully push the Apple Watch to be even better. Either way, smartwatches just got a little more interesting.