It all started with a mystery: Why would a fitness tracker detect a beating heart on a roll of toilet paper?
Tagged With android wear
While it doesn’t have a grand, overarching designation, you can think of Google’s recently announced revamp to its smartwatch platform as the third version of Wear OS (though officially, it’s 2.1). It has an all-new UI, updated health and fitness tracking, and better app integration, and it all should be headed to your device starting today.
Earlier this year, I got a little annoyed when Google renamed Android Wear to Wear OS. This was because even though Google’s intention to make its smartwatch OS less platform specific was good, it kind of felt meaningless without any new software or hardware features to improve how Wear OS actually works.
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".
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.
Fossil, a company that makes both analogue timepieces and smartwatches, reported its earnings yesterday and the results weren't great. Not only did the watchmaker miss analyst estimates for Q4 2016, its outlook for 2017 is fairly bleak. CNBC reports that the stock is down nearly 20 per cent.
The smartwatch market might be in the dumps, but that hasn't stopped Google pushing Android Wear, or LG from manufacturing compliant gadgets. Images of the latter company's "Watch Style" line were recently leaked by VentureBeat's Evan Blass and now, thanks to Android Police, we have some indication of pricing.
Just after Apple got serious about fitness with the Apple Watch Series 2 and Samsung went rugged with the Gear S3, the Android equivalent is getting some much-needed love in the form of two new smartwatches -- the Polar M600 for fitness junkies, and Nixon's fashionable but supremely functional Mission will handle a 100-metre dive underwater.
Last year, Asus's ZenWatch 2 was a really great and eminently affordable Android Wear device. This year, Asus is back with the ZenWatch 3, and it is addressing the pathetic battery-life problems that have plagued smartwatches for years.
Alongside its two rumoured new Nexus smartphones, Google might just be working on its own wrist-bound companions, with AI Assistant integration. Android Police has what it says is exclusive information on not one, but two, different Android Wear smartwatch projects going on at Mountain View.
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.