Android Wear has been around for a while now, but it hasn’t picked up the pace as Google would have wanted. In a bid to make it better and perhaps more attractive to vendors, the search giant is reportedly planning some changes to the wearable OS.
One major change that was first spotted by a Redditor is a new name. As it seems, Google is ready to rename Android Wear to simply “Wear OS.” In addition, the search giant will also give Wear OS a new logo that resembles that of the Google Assistant.
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The Reddit user who discovered these changes saw them via a Google Play services’ notification for Nearby functionality meant to “help you find and interact with services and devices close to you.” In the case of Android Wear, you’ll be notified that there’s a watch nearby that can be paired with your phone.
Note that not everyone using Android Wear has been able to see these changes. Apparently, the name change has been reported in version 12.4 of the app, which is part of the new Android P Developer Preview. In version 12.5, which is the latest beta, you can see changes to both the name and logo.
So, why the changes, more so the name?
While the only reasonable explanation for the logo change is that Google wants deeper Assistant integration, we do believe the change to Wear OS is a move by Google to try and de-associate wearables with Android. There’s that confusion that Android Wear devices are specific to Android, yet this isn’t true.
For a while now, it has been possible to pair an Android smartwatch with an iOS device. With this change of name, Google is hopeful that consumers will no longer think of their smartwatches as devices that are only compatible with other Android devices.
Also, the name change fits well with the recent streamlining of Google products, more specifically the renaming of Android Pay to Google Pay, which removed the Android association from a mobile payment platform that Google intends to use widely outside the Android realm.