Android Wear fans may be disappointed to learn the company is planning to rebrand its wearable platform in the coming months, but it’s not necessarily a sign the company is giving up on smartwatches.
Initially I was skeptical of the company rebranding to Wear OS. An arbitrary renaming of a tech product is usually one of the first signs of a lack of faith in a concept.
Retooling the Android Wear platform to Wear OS actually makes a lot of sense now, especially as it’s not for Android-only compatibility devices anymore.
A screenshot of a beta version of the Google Play services app appeared on Reddit this weekend and showed the title ‘Wear OS’, suggesting the company is preparing to retool Android Wear.
Android Wear initially launched for Google OS toting devices only, but the company has since opened it up to be compatible with iPhones too. The rename away from the big ‘A word’ makes a lot of sense to then.
If you’re an iPhone owner, the word Android generally means something isn’t compatible with your phone. You’re conditioned to look for iOS, so it’s not initially 100% clear that Android Wear will work with your phone and may put you off looking at Google’s smartwatches right away.
Instead if devices are under the Wear OS name, it makes it far more palatable for those with iPhones and want to have a different device to the Apple Watch.
A simple rename
Although the rebrand is currently just a rumor, it’s becoming a bit of a trend for Google with its Android products. Its contactless payment service has been rebranded as Google Pay, rather than Android Pay.
While it still has ‘Google’ in the name, it’s another step away from the Android name and the search giants continues to shift products that aren’t just available on Android (or will be in the future), under its own name.
Rumors of an Android Wear 3.0 upgrade have already started to heat up, but if this reported change happens it will be the perfect time to relaunch as Wear OS and bring new devices to the platform.
As for when we may see a Wear OS launch, the best bet currently is May 8 when Google I/O 2018 is set to kick off.
Google is expected to announce the first details about Android P and it may be the perfect opportunity to introduce the new wearable-focused OS name too.
While the rebrand may initially feel like its a step back for Android Wear devices, it’s probably going to make it a more enticing option for customer’s wrists who don’t necessarily own an Android phone.