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article imageAndroid Wear is now known as 'Wear OS by Google'

By James Walker     Mar 16, 2018 in Technology
Google has renamed Android Wear, confirming that references to the new platform found inside Android P were genuine. The company said the new name, "Wear OS by Google," reflects the platform's aims of providing a wearable ecosystem "for everyone."
Android Wear launched four years ago this week. Since then, the platform has embodied Google's wearables strategy for Android-powered smartwatches. However, uptake and progress have both been sluggish, with version 2.0 only released last year.
It's safe to say Android Wear hasn't had the impact Google had originally hoped for. Last year's update, when it finally arrived, included only a handful of new features and failed to generate significant attention. After an initial high point during 2015 and 2016, Android Wear has stagnated as newer alternatives – such as the Apple Watch – have gained popularity.
Although Google's not yet announced any new features to go with the name change, the revised branding seems to indicate a new direction for the platform. It's evolving from a subsidiary of Android into its own platform, identified as "Wear OS." Over time, it's possible Google may move to separate Android and Wear OS into distinctly different ecosystems, perhaps alongside the introduction of other new operating systems.
Wear OS by Google
Wear OS by Google
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One of the aims of Wear OS is to better communicate the accessibility of Android Wear. The association with Android didn't reflect the platform's compatibility with iOS devices. Google noted that one in three Android Wear users had their watch paired to an iPhone last year. The new branding clarifies that Google smartwatches aren't restricted to Android phones, which could help the ecosystem to better rival the Apple Watch. The generic Wear OS name is also similar to Apple's watchOS.
"As our technology and partnerships have evolved, so have our users. In 2017 one out of three new Android Wear watch owners also used an iPhone," said Google. "So as the watch industry gears up for another Baselworld next week, we're announcing a new name that better reflects our technology, vision, and most important of all – the people who wear our watches. We're now Wear OS by Google, a wearables operating system for everyone."
While Google's not yet revealing any details, it's likely it'll release more information on Wear OS during its I/O developers conference in early May. After enduring Android Wear's lacklustre performance, Google appears to be preparing a renewed push into wearable devices.
It's as yet unclear whether Wear OS will receive new hardware products this year. Android Wear watches have been slow in launching and several major brands have withdrawn their ranges since the platform's launch. Current Android Wear users will begin to see the new branding appear on their watch and in the app over the next few weeks.
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