Google’s Android Wear is now compatible with the iPhone. With a new Android Wear iOS app, compatible wearable devices can be linked with a user’s iPhone in much the same way as the Apple Watch.
For now, that only means that the LG Watch Urbane, a premium smartwatch that hit the market just before the Apple Watch’s launch last year, can be paired with the iPhone. But soon the compatible product roster will expand with new wearables such as the Huawei Watch.
It’s a bold move on Google’s part, using Apple’s own products to get a competitive boost in the wearables market. It also helps to highlight one weakness of the Apple Watch, which is its need to be paired with an iPhone in order to function – an aspect of the device that Apple reportedly aims to rectify with its next iteration. Samsung also aims to get a competitive advantage with its forthcoming Gear S2‘s lack of any need for pairing whatsoever.
That suggests a future in which all premium smartwatches can function as standalone devices. In the meantime, though, Google gets to hitch a free ride on the iPhone.