Google’s Android Wear for iOS app is now available for iPhone 5 and iPhone 6 users so they can get many of the features and creativity of Android Wear when they are using an Android smartwatch along with their Apple devices.
The long-awaited move, which was rumored in April, means that iPhone 5, 5C, 5S, 6 or 6 Plus users who are running iOS 8.2 or later on their devices can now use Android Wear to get information about phone calls, messages and app notifications at a glance on their smartphones. They can also customize their Android watch faces and more using their iPhones, David Singleton, director of engineering for Android Wear, wrote in an Aug. 31 post on the Official Google Blog.
In the past, Apple Watches could only be used with iPhones while Android smartwatches had to be used with Android Wear and an Android phone.
The Android Wear for iOS app changes that. Using the new app, iPhone users with Android smartwatches will be able to get notifications about phone calls, messages and notifications from various apps, as well as use their devices to set fitness goals and get daily and weekly views of their progress, wrote Singleton. With Android Wear for iOS, Android smartwatches will automatically track users’ walking and running, while also measuring their heart rates.
On the other hand, the Android Wear for iOS app won’t allow iPhone users to get all the features and functions that they would get if using their smartphones with a native Apple Watch, which is built to work seamlessly with iPhones. For some users, that will be an unacceptable limitation, but for others, it might just be an inconvenience.
The app will also allow users to receive timely information about when they should leave to get to appointments on time, current traffic information, flight status and more, wrote Singleton. “Just say ‘Ok Google’ to ask questions like ‘Is it going to rain in London tomorrow?’ or create to-dos with ‘Remind me to pack an umbrella.'”
The first Android device to work with the new Android Wear for iOS app is the LG Watch Urbane, but all future Android Wear watches, including those from Huawei, Asus and Motorola, will also support iOS, the post continued.
Rumors that Google had been experimenting with the idea of running Android Wear on the iPhone platform have been circulating for months, according to an earlier eWEEK story. The app gives smartwatch users more options for which phones and watches can be used together.
Google launched Android Wear 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.
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.