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Google said to be close to getting Android Wear watches to work with iPhones

It's been rumored and reported for a while now that Google was working to get Android Wear to be properly compatible with the iPhone, and it appears that they're rapidly approaching the point of actually seeing a release. According to The Verge:

In its current state of development, Android Wear works along with a companion app on the iPhone and supports basic functions like notifications — as you can see in the photo below. As it does on Android, on the iPhone Android Wear also supports Google Now's ambient information cards, voice search, and other voice actions. It should also support some more advanced features with Google's own iOS apps, like replying to Gmail messages.

Enterprising code spelunkers have found references to iOS in Android Wear's code on previous occasions, and some have even managed to get the watch to work on a basic level with iPhones. But proper integration, something that would even start to approach what Android Wear can do when paired with an Android device, or even the Apple Watch, will require the companion app that Google's been working on.

For what it's worth, Android Wear on Android needs a companion app, Pebble on both iPhone and Android needs a companion app, and even the Apple Watch uses a companion app (though that's mostly for management of the device and not enabling basic functions).

Whatever happens, it'll be nice to see additional choices for wearable accessories for iPhone users. There are issues to overcome, sure, though if Pebble's success getting developers to build tie-ins to their iOS apps is any indication, Google might do alright if Wear for iPhone ever comes to fruition.

There are several Android Wear smartwatches — these are the best

Source: The Verge

Derek Kessler is Special Projects Manager for Mobile Nations. He's been writing about tech since 2009, has far more phones than is considered humane, still carries a torch for Palm (the old one), and got a Tesla because it was the biggest gadget he could find. You can follow him on Twitter at @derekakessler.

50 Comments
  • And I doubt Apple would ever let this happen. That's directly taking away sales from their watch. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Google now is on there and that takes away from SIRI. So... Posted via the Android Central App
  • That doesn't directly affect hardware sales. You're talking about software, which Apple doesn't make it's money on. Hardware however is a totally different story. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Even so Apple would be stupid not to. People who have 360 may want to buy an Apple phone. It would be good for them to know their watch won't be wasted. It goes both ways. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Google is talking about software as well: software that interfaces with an Android Wear watch via Bluetooth.
  • Exactly. Much like the way they stopped Pebble from working with iOS Posted from my Droid Turbo, Kelly and Ozone
  • Apple also hasn't shut down the Pebble app
  • Wouldn't that be illegal and anti-competitive, though?
  • What's illegal? Posted via the Android Central App
  • That's a good point, but "anti-competitve" is not inherently illegal.  It's only when you are considered a monopoly and accused of using your "dominant market position to stifle competition" that the FTC typically gets involved.  Since Apple does not have a "dominant market position" (despite how it might feel to see the media reports, they have less than 50% of the US smartphone market share) so they likely wouldn't be considered a monopoly under FTC rules. At this level, it's really no different from McDonalds refusing to allow Taco Bell to sell food in their store.
  • I'd say that the marketshare is big enough that anti-competitive laws would kick in.
    At least here in the EU, it would be clearly illegal. Plus, they should get sued just to be anti competitive assholes anyway :)
  • iPhone has a 32.1% market share in the UK, as of the end of February.  Not sure about the how the European courts define "monopoly" but I would expect it would have to own the vast majority of the market.
  • Not necessarily.
    It depends.. if Apple are directly blocking competing platforms to launch applications, they would have a big problem on their hands. It's not only about market share, it's also about behaviour. If for example Apple shut down Google Maps on iOS, they would get sued right away. Apple can set the rules for their appstore, but the rules have to be equal for everybody. Blocking maps would not be legal if that move would be seen as shutting down map competition. It doesn't matter which market share the platform has og doesn't have. At least this is how I see it and how I am hearing EU policitans talk. There was a radio discussion the other day where the EU commisioner for competition, Margrethe Vestager, talked specifically about blocking competition from a platform application store. The EU would look very seriously on such a move. The example used was if Apple launched their map service on Google Play and Google blocked the application. This would prompt a case at the EU court for impeding competition.
  • Yup... I see this going down just like iTunes syncing did with the Palm Pre (RIP - sad face) Note to Android Wear Dev Team: code it to read the hardware as an iWatch. When Apple sues, counter sue for attempting to create a monopoly in the smart watch market. Google has the finances to win that battle, unlike Palm at the time! :D
  • They already allow the Pebble companion app, and that's the best selling smartwatch to date. They won't allow it if it's called 'Android Wear' as they have a history of not allowing anything using the name Android and integrating with the Android OS. Otherwise, I don't see how they could exclude it.
  • Just like how they blocked Pebble!
  • I want iTunes for android! Posted via Android Central App on 1+1
  • Said no one ever My M8 posted this
  • Agreed.  iTunes is the reason my iPod ended up in a drawer.
  • I really wonder how many will really care once the Apple watch comes out if it hasn't already. Forgot the release date Posted via the Android Central App
  • More than you think given the cost of the Apple Watch with leather or metal bands. Most people simply are not going to spend $700+ on a watch...I really think Apple knocked out a ton of users with this price. They either are going to make do for the cheaper one, or they will want to switch to Android.
    I really think Apple really opened the door to some higher end Android watches. While everyone was afraid to go over $250, i think they can easily sit at $350-400 on a more premium android watch now and people will go for it.
  • I just hope the next 360 doesn't try and bump up it's price.
  • You underestimate the power of Apple Posted via the Android Central App
  • There's no doubt that some people (probably a mind-boggling number) will buy the massively over-priced Apple Watch, but there will be plenty of people who simply *can't*.  At least some percentage of those people will look for a cheaper alternative.
  • There will be people who will prefer the look of a rounded watch or something with more waterproof capabilities.
  • Maybe, but iFans are pretty loyal. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Very true but a lot of that is due to using an a product they already know and are comfortable with. This is an entirely new product so it may be up for grabs. Depends how quickly Google can get this out and if it will work just as well as Apple's version.
  • True, but paying a premium for something like an iPhone is one thing. Paying $200 more than a competing device with very similar features for something that's not nearly as important to your daily life as a smartphone might rub some people the wrong way. That said, I think that the reaction of a big Apple fan is way more likely to be "The Apple Watch is too expensive, so I'm just not going to get a smartwatch" than "The Apple Watch is too expensive, so I'm going to air a Moto 360 with my iPhone."
  • Hopefully Posted via the Android Central App
  • I think you're right, but the beauty of this approach is that it costs Google almost nothing to implement.  Even if adoption of Android Wear watches on iPhone is just a couple of thousand, it's still a win for Google, since it will mean more sales, more visibility of the devices, and (probably most importantly) more people sending data to Google.
  • Be nice if they can get it working with Windows and BlackBerry too!
  • Windows phone don't even have Youtube app from Google. They refuse to play balk with them. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I think they're only focusing on devices with relevant market share. As much as I like WP the lack of apps (still) and the shrinking market share gives Google very little reason to dedicate resources to those respective platforms.
  • Yeah, and stop ONLY supporting iOS other than Android.
  • Well iOS and iPhone in particular are generate much more revenue so that'll never happen. Overall this is a really cool move. The iWatch is expensive and not the best beauty queen Posted via the Android Central App
  • The gap is quickly closing.  I think the biggest reason iOS apps get released first is because it's easier to develop and test an app for just "one" phone.  Once they've got the basic bugs worked out, then they can focus on dealing with Android's myriad of hardware and screen sizes.  That is the one part of the "fragmentation" argument that is valid: it's much harder on dev's when there's a bug that only happens on one particular handset and they don't have that same handset to test and debug on.
  • Hey, I can't blame them, you gotta go where the people with the money and willingness to spend are.
  • Android wear needs iphone to success, it hurts but thats the truth.
  • No. It needs to not suck. All of these watches are a solution to a problem that doesn't exist. That's why they will always be niche devices at best. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Fixed it for you: A solution to a problem that doesn't exist in YOUR life. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Agreed.  I love my Moto 360.  If you're someone who gets an email or text message every 10 minutes throughout the day (especially when a lot of those a work-related "lists" that don't pertain to me, or text message threads I am on because of the charity group I work with) then it can be a huge difference.  With my watch, it only takes 2 seconds to identify and dismiss a notification.  Without the watch, I have to pull out my phone, push the button, swipe unlock, pull down the notification shade, tap the notification and then read it.  Less than about 10% of the notifications I get during the day actually require a reply from me, so that's a lot of not pulling out my phone. Plus, being in a quiet office all day, I tend to leave my phone on silent.  With the watch, it buzzes quietly on my wrist, so I can be sure that I won't miss those few percent that do require my immediate attention.
  • Spelunkers are cave explorers, by the way.
  • Bring it on google! Destroy the 1st generation shrunken iPhone! Posted via Android Central App on 1+1
  • I can see Apple trying to stop this. But Google really had everything it needs. But Apple would probably deny the Android Wear app on the App Store for no reason. Posted via my Nexus 6 from the Android Central App
  • Given the choice I would choose a Moto 360 over an Apple Watch. Google should have had Andoid Wear iOS ready and announced it the day after the Apple Watch was announced, while people were still suffering from sticker shock.
  • I hope Wear improves enough to compete with the Watch before they port it over to iOS. It honestly pales in comparison in features. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Explain Posted via the Android Central App
  • Can you be more specific? Posted via the Android Central App
  • I guess he can't. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I have yet to hear about anything the Apple Watch can do that Android Wear can't.  And all the reviewers are saying that the Apple Watch is (uncommonly, for Apple) difficult to setup and use. Personally, I don't get the whole "bubble apps" thing.  That seems like a silly design.  I would much rather tell my watch what I want it to do than to have to scroll around and zoom in and out on a grid of tiny app icons. And, as much as Apple played up the "force touch" feature, the *only* thing it does is bring up the watch face selection.  The whole drawing little pictures and sending "taps" to people can all be done on an Android Wear watch with the app "pinsy", if you just *really* want to do that sort of thing. https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.pinsy EDIT:  Got my thoughts mixed up there.  Pinsy lets you draw pictures, the dev's other app "Wizz" (there are several others, too) lets you send "taps". https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.plb.wizz