Android smartwatches today can only be used in conjunction with an Android smartphone, but that could change in the future as Google continues to develop an Android Wear app for use on iPhones.
Google has been experimenting for several months on running Android Wear on the iPhone platform, according to reports, and now that work is nearing completion. In March, the French technology Website 01net.com reported that the project would likely be unveiled at the upcoming Google I/O developers conference in May.
The development is particularly interesting because Apple Watch preorders opened on April 10 and largely sold out in a few hours, while the first devices will be distributed to customers starting on April 24. Already, there are long waiting times of at least four to six weeks or more to get an Apple Watch, according to the company’s Website.
The fledgling Android Wear app for the iPhone so far provides basic functions on the iPhone, such as notifications to the user about incoming messages, emails and more, according to an April 10 report by FoneArena. It also provides Google Now services and other features on iPhones, other reports have stated.
Of course, even if Google gets it all working, Apple would have to approve the inclusion of such as app in the Apple App Store where users could obtain it.
If a version of Android Wear for the iPhone is finalized and made available to iPhone users, it would allow the users to have many more choices in smartwatches (such as the Motorola Moto 360, pictured) that they could use with their iPhones. Instead of limiting them to the new Apple Watch, they would have dozens of other choices to peruse.
To tie such a mix together in the future, Google is already planning to add support for iOS software and WiFi in the next version of Android Wear, according to FoneArena.
Android Wear was launched by Google in March 2014 to help expand the world of wearable computing devices for consumers. The first step was introducing developer tools to encourage the development of smartwatches. The idea of wearables, according to Google, is that they understand the context of the world around their wearers and can interact with their users simply and efficiently with just a glance or a spoken word.
In December 2014, the Android Wear app was updated to add new features for users, while Google also released a new watch face API that allows developers to create new electronic watch faces for Android Wear devices. The updates give Android Wear users wider choices in setting up their devices to fit their personalities and style choices, according to an earlier eWEEK report. The new Android Wear smartphone app updates made it easier for users to browse, download and switch the digital watch faces on their devices.
The Apple Watch, which opened for preorders on April 10, starts at $349 for the Apple Watch Sport version, which is available with a silver or space gray aluminum body and with wristbands in many colors.
The standard Apple Watch starts at $549 for a 38mm-wide version or $599 for a 42mm-wide model. Prices for the 38mm version can rise up to $1,049, while prices for the 42mm model can rise up to $1,099, depending on the watchband selected. The regular Apple Watch can be purchased with a fluoroelastomer band or one of three different leather bands.
The company’s luxury version of the Apple Watch is the Apple Watch Edition, with a price tag of $10,000. The most expensive version of the Apple Watch, the 18-karat gold Edition version, is priced at $17,000.
The smartwatch marketplace is getting more crowded as more device makers build and market their own styles of watches.
LG, Motorola, Samsung, Sony, Apple and Huawei are among the vendors today selling smartwatches, and that field is likely to continue to grow.