Tagged With android wear

When Google changed the name of its smartwatch OS from Android Wear to Wear OS, I was pissed. Not because the name sucked, as Wear OS does do a better job of reflecting the platform's support for both Android and iOS devices. The problem was that the rebranding didn't come with any new features or updates that advanced the capabilities of the platform. That meant the name change was more symbolic than anything, or at the very least, poorly timed.

Yesterday, Google announced it would rename its four-year-old smartwatch operating system from Android Wear to Wear OS. Ostensibly, the purpose of this rebranding is to prevent scaring off iPhone owners from purchasing smartwatches running Android Wear, which for a long time has supported pairing with both Android and iOS devices. As Google puts it, Wear OS is "a wearables operating system for everyone".

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Google has officially dropped the Android Wear moniker from their operating system for wearable devices, switching to the way less cumbersome Wear OS by Google - although I suspect we'll all be skipping on saying "by Google" in a few seconds. Google started using the Android brand back in 2008 when they launched their competing mobile OS, following the success of Apple's iPhone in 2007.

Take a moment and wander over to the online Google Store. You'll see beautiful photos of many products announced yesterday, and if you click on the links you can buy the items made by Google (including last year's Google Home) or made for Google (a whole lot of headphones and phone cases). But Android Wear, and the whole slew of smartwatches powered by it, are nowhere to be found. What's up with that?

Movado makes nice watches. On the scale of Walmart special to "oh god what happened to my bank account," its watches are priced firmly in the middle. They're fashionable and can last for decades, but they also don't cost the same as half a year's rent. Movado is also known for design. It's most famous watch -- the Museum Watch -- has been in the collection of New York's Museum of Modern Art since 1960 as an icon to midcentury design. That's a rare feat for a modern timepiece. So Movado building a smartwatch is important, because if anyone can figure out how to make these things look cool it's this Swiss watchmaker.

Motorola is back in Australia. With a vengeance. With its integration into Lenovo finally completed, the smartphone maker has a new smartphone and a new smartwatch coming out in Australia next week. The Moto G4 Plus aims to be the best phone in its sub-$450 price bracket, and Android Wear geeks around the country have been waiting months for the second-generation Moto 360 smartwatch to land down under. Motorola will sell both to you on a new online store, too.

The first Google I/O keynote just wrapped up and Sundar Pichai & Co had lots to say. New smart home gadgets! New all-powerful AI bots! New VR goodies! Next-generation messaging apps! Dad jokes and hijinks! Whoa.

The lifecycle of a new gadget is relatively predictable: When it's brand new, only early adopters are interested. Once the technology matures, everybody buys one. But smartwatches still haven't caught on with most people -- and that's because no one has made a smartwatch that's worth its cost.