Android Wear: when rebranding isn't enough

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Android Wear: when rebranding isn't enough

Google first released Android Wear in 2014 and the platform hasn't changed much since then. Android Wear 2.0 slightly changed the user interface and added a few new features in 2017, and on March 15, 2018 Google announced that Android Wear will be replaced by Wear OS.

The purpose of giving the platform a new name and logo is to highlight the fact that Android Wear is equally accessible to users Android and iOS, and it also fits into the recently emerging Google behavior striving to remove the name Android from its other products and services (as is the case with Android Pay). The new name is very attractive and the logo looks decent, but Google will need a lot more work if the company wants Android Wear / Wear OS to be successful and if it is going to provide a decent response to recent actions Apple, Fitbit and Samsung. So in what direction could this effort be directed?

Complete overhaul of Google Fit

Fitness and related scenarios is a very important application for smartwatches. So much so that Apple highlights the health-related features of Apple Watch more than any other. And indeed, when you walk around with this watch even for a short time, you gradually “get hooked” on all these blue, yellow and red rings.

Unfortunately, Wear OS currently has nothing comparable to Apple, Fitbit, or even Samsung in this field.

Android Wear: when rebranding isn't enough

Google Fit is a fitness app that comes out of the box with any Wear OS device, but Google obviously does anything but what it needs to be successful. There is no way to enter and track data about your diet, water consumption or sleep. You cannot compete with other users, there are no badges or rewards to motivate you to further accomplishments, and the companion app gives you very little opportunity to compare results with previous workouts.

The health and fitness platform developed by Google and tied directly to your Google account should be selling itself, but in its current form, Google Fit looks very pale in comparison to Fitbit, Apple Health and Samsung Health.

Fitness and health care are becoming an increasingly important reason for people to buy smartwatches, and the current Google Fit can only make the user instantly turn away from Wear OS and look towards something more serious.

Where is the Pixel Watch really?

Lots of people have been begging Google for a long time to finally create the Pixel Watch – why don't we join this slim chorus?

Android Wear: when rebranding isn't enough

This phone and laptop just needs a watch company!

Before Google launched the Pixel line, Nexus smartphones were perceived as nothing more than devices for hardcore fans Android, because they combined the top features and the latest software features with the latest version of the OS. The Pixel and Pixel 2 offered a lot of what made the Nexus lineup so vibrant. But now the focus has shifted from the geek to the average consumer.

Google is one of the most famous companies on the planet, and that's why you see its logo on the Pixel 2 box, on the back of the device and on the home screen. This is how people get used to the fact that the Pixel is synonymous with Google, and now that brand perception is beginning to take shape, buyers will easily perceive and remember: the Pixel Watch is made by Google and will be a great addition to the Pixel 2, 3 and so on.

The issue of hardware characteristics is rather secondary here, and the front line for Google lies in the areas of brand promotion and marketing. The consumer has long learned the elementary truths: Apple Watch complements iPhone, and Fitbit devices are designed for people who care about health. And when the inevitable (!) Pixel Watch is announced, Google needs to run a very smart promotional campaign, convincing people that they should buy its device and not Apple Watch, Fitbit Versa or Samsung Gear Sport.

Pixel Watch again

So let's say Google has successfully accomplished what was discussed above in relation to the Pixel Watch, but what should the watch itself be like to attract a buyer and maintain their loyalty to the brand?

There are tons of manufacturers that make watches with Wear OS, but the platform is largely supported by fashion brands like Skagen, Fossil and Kate Spade.

As with the Pixel smartphones and Pixelbooks, the Pixel Watch should have a simple yet attractive design that works equally well for a man's and a woman's hand. You can relate to Apple Watch in different ways, but in this they have no equal.

Also, the watch should have a heart rate sensor, NFC for mobile payments and a built-in GPS sensor to easily track the same runs without having to take a smartphone with you. If Google wants to make a watch with LTE, it should go down the path Apple and release a separate model with this functionality.

Which of the following is real?

Android Wear: when rebranding isn't enough

Along with the Wear OS announcement, Google announced that fitness-related features will be a major focus of its efforts in future software updates. On top of that, the Google Fit companion app will finally be available for iOS in the coming weeks. It is not yet clear what these new fitness features Google is working on, but the good news is that it is investing time and money in Google Fit.

Will we see the Pixel Watch this year? Probably yes. Maybe Google will tell you more about new updates and features for Wear OS on I / O in May, and at the end of the year we will hear about a new device along with the Pixel 3 announcement. This is a very good time to get the most out of the rebranding Android Wear – It's hard to imagine Google not taking advantage of this opportunity for the success of Wear OS.

What do you think, dear readers? What do you think Google should do to make Wear OS take off?

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