Well, this is interesting. Google announced this morning that its wearable computing platform, Android Wear, is now compatible with Apple’s iPhone, a cross-platform play that reeks of both genius and desperation.
“When you wear something every day, you want to be sure it really works for you,” Android Wear Director of Engineering David Singleton writes in the Official Google Blog. “That’s why Android Wear offers countless design choices, so you can find the watch that fits your style. Want a round watch with a more classic look? Feel like a new watch band? How about changing things up every day with watch faces from artists and designers? With Android Wear you can do all of that. And now, Android Wear watches work with iPhones.”
I assume it’s somewhat obvious that this is a big deal. To date, Google has restricted Android Wear to Android handsets, just as Apple has restricted its own Apple Watch to iPhone. By putting the less expensive, less difficult to use, and more diverse Android Wear on iPhone, Google is striking right at the heart of Apple’s faltering wearable solution.
Or, at least they will be. Today’s announcement involves only a single Android Wear device, the LG Watch Urbane, which is a decidedly expensive watch at $350. And while it’s not clear whether any existing Android Wear devices will support iOS, Google says that all future Android Wear watches, including those from ASUS, Huawei, Asus, and Motorola will also support iOS.
Android Wear for iOS requires an iPhone 5, 5c, 5S, 6, or 6 Plus running iOS 8.2 or newer, Google says.