Google Lets Android Wear Smartwatches Work with iPhones
Google just gave iPhone users a really good reason to get a smartwatch that’s not an Apple Watch.
Android Wear watches are now compatible with iOS, Google announced Monday. The first iOS-compatible device will be the LG Watch Urbane, with all-new Android Wear smartwatches from Huawei, Motorola and others also supporting iOS.
As with Android, the iOS-compatible version of Android Wear will rely on an accompanying Android Wear app, which arrived in the App Store on Monday. The app is what lets you to pair your iPhone (it supports the iPhone 5 and newer) with your watch and manage notifications and other settings.
Once set up, Google has managed to squeeze a surprising amount of features into the iOS version, despite Apple’s notoriously tight restrictions. Android Wear for iOS supports notifications, fitness tracking (via Google Fit) and Google Now, including Google Now cards and voice searches.
Of course, with iOS there are always some limitations, even for Google. Most notably, Android Wear on iOS doesn’t support third-party apps and likely won’t allow developers to add Android Wear-compatible features to their iOS apps, according to The Verge, who got an early look at the functionality.
That said, Google will make a “curated” set of third-party watch faces available to users, which will be welcome news to those frustrated by Apple’s current refusal to allow custom third-party watch faces for the Apple Watch. Additionally, if you rely on services like Gmail and Google Calendar, Android Wear on iOS will offer more detailed notifications for certain Google apps.
Android Wear also offers another signifiant advantage in terms of price. The LG Watch Urbane starts at about $278 — significantly less than the cheapest Apple Watch. And the price point for new Android Wear watches is likely to go down as more competition emerges. Google says all new Android Wear watches from now on will support iOS, including those from Asus, Motorola and Huawei, so iOS users will soon have a lot more choices when it comes to smartwatches.
Though new Android Wear devices are the only ones “officially” supporting iOS, according to Google, those with older smartwatches are also able to pair their devices to iPhones. Mashable confirmed LG’s G Watch R is compatible with the new Android Wear iOS app and others have reported success with Moto 360.