Google might be planning to rebrand its Android Wear platform to Wear OS. The new name was first spotted by a Reddit user who received a pairing notification featuring the new name and a logo similar to that of Google Assistant.
The notification was generated by Google Play services, specifically the Nearby functionality that “helps you find and interact with services and devices close to you.” With Android Wear, it alerts users when a compatible watch is near them and offers instruction to pair them. Tapping on the notification opens the Android Wear companion app or asks to install the app from the Play Store.
Android Police notes that on the last stable version 11.9.75 and version 12.2, the current stable build rolling out, the Nearby notification continues to refer to watches as Android Wear. The name of the operating system is changed to “Wear OS” with current logo with version 12.4 from this week’s Android P Developer Preview.
In the latest beta, version 12.5, both the name and logo are in use. The logo is quite different from existing Android Wear logo and shows an abstract ‘W’ sign with pairs of slashes and dots christened in the four Google colors. The search giant recently brought all its payment services under unified “Google Pay” branding and it first appeared via Play services beta. It won’t be long before Google officially announces the name change.
Google’s Android Wear has failed to catch up with Apple’s watchOS and Fitbit’s own operating system. The wearable operating system received much needed design refresh in the form of Android Wear 2.0 alongside support for standalone apps last year. But it has failed to inspire Google’s OEM partners to launch new products based on the platform. Google launched two new wearables in partnership with LG, but the devices were not made available in a large number of markets.
Major smartphone makers have decided to either curtail their smartwatch development or drop out of the segment altogether. The operating system is now mainly endorsed by fashion brands and Swiss watchmakers such as Fossil, Tag Heuer, Louis Vuitton to name a few.
The change in name might be an effort to bring renewed interest in the platform and reflect the fact that it is not just limited to Android. All the Android Wear watches are compatible with Apple’s iOS as well.