The Google Blog announced the other day that upcoming Android Wear watches will work with newer iPhones. I’d been curious whether or not Google (and its OEM partners) would go down this path. In general, iPhone owners enjoy the same Google apps that their Android counterparts use. However, given Google’s stabs into integrated hardware – Nexus tablets, Chromebooks, the Pixel – one might have thought that the “new Google” would more strictly force users who want a more Google-esque experience to use its own hardware. I suspect Google permitted this openness for two reasons:
- The Apple Watch starts at $349. This gives Android Wear OEMs a fair amount of room to undercut Apple. Although initial Android watches are on the pricier end (which is still to say, the low end of the Apple Watch), prices will fall, much as they did with phones.
- Google likely hopes that some iOS users may make their way to Android, having had a positive experience with Android Wear.
However, I think that opening up Wear to iOS devices may be perilous for sales of Android watches. They may simply serve as a means of users (cheaply) getting acclimated to wrist devices, and then upgrading to the Apple Watch once they realize the utility wrist computing offers, and desire the iOS-integrated features only the Apple Watch can utilize.