Google is replacing its Android Wear brand with a new name: Wear OS. The Wear OS branding was spotted early this week and now the search giant has officially confirmed the name change with a new microsite on its website.
Apart from the change in branding, the Wear OS also gets a new slogan: “Make every minute matter.” Google introduced Android Wear as an attempt to get head start in the wearable segment in 2014. The rebranding and the accompanying slogan indicates Google wants to highlight that its smartwatch platform is not restricted to Android, its mobile operating system and also works with Apple’s iOS.
Apple calls its smartwatch platform on Apple Watch as watchOS and it only works with iPhone. While Android Wear-based smartwatches do work with iPhone, they don’t support all the same features it does on Android. Despite the limitations, some iPhone owners are actually purchasing smartwatches running Google’s wearable platform. Google claims one out of three new Android Wear watch owners also used an iPhone in 2017. Android users still make up the majority of customers for Google’s wearable platform.
“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,” writes Dennis Troper, Director of Product Management, Wear OS by Google in a blog post.
Google says there are over 50 wearable devices based on its wearable platform in the market right now. Since its launch, Google’s wearable platform has failed to reach the market dominance its mobile operating system has managed to achieve. Android Wear failed to match the adoption rate of Apple’s watchOS and it has even led to some key partners dropping out from the wearable business altogether.
Google has now found renewed interest in its platform from fashion brands like Fossil and Swiss watchmakers like Tag Heuer and Mont Blanc. Google says Android Wear users will begin to see the new name on their watch and phone app over the next few weeks.
There are no major announcements happening around new features or new design coming to the platform at this moment. At Baselworld next week, Swiss brands are expected to showcase their new smartwatch designs based on Wear OS. Google might detail new features and support to reinvigorate demand for its wearables at its I/O developer conference in May. It needs to be seen whether change in name can bring demand for Google’s wearable platform, which has failed to catch the imagination of consumers.