TORONTO – Google is fighting for control when it comes to wearable tech. The tech giant has unveiled an application that will connect Android Wear smartwatches to Apple’s iPhone, in a bid to win over users who don’t want to use the Apple Watch.
The app, launched in Apple’s App Store on Monday, will enable the latest Android watches to link with the iPhone so people can quickly glance at their wrists for directions, fitness information and notifications about events, emails and Facebook updates.
Until now, Android watches only worked with smartphones powered by Android software, just as the Apple Watch is designed to be tethered exclusively to the iPhone.
The app supports voice commands, which means you can speak to your watch to set reminders, timers, or open the weather app, for example.
But there’s an important distinction here – when paired with an iPhone, Android Wear smartwatches won’t be able to do everything that the Apple Watch can. For example, you can’t reply to text messages from your watch – you can only see the notification.
Right now there are only three Android watches that support iPhone – the LG Watch Urbane and the Huawei Watch and the Asus ZenWatch 2.
However, Google said all future Android Wear watches, including those from Huawei (pictured above), Asus, and Motorola will also support iOS.
The ability to run an Android smartphone on the iPhone may encourage some consumers looking for a less expensive smartwatch solution to hop on board.
Prices of the Android watches compatible with the iPhone range from about $100 to US$400 – the Apple Watch, on the other hand, starts at $449 and goes all the way up to $13,000.
Although Apple was a late entrant into the smartwatch market, the company quickly surged to the front of the pack after its April release.
About 4 million Apple Watches were sold during the three months ended in June to command three-fourths of the worldwide smartwatch market, based on estimates from the research firm Strategy Analytics.
The combined sales of Android watches made by various device makers during the same period totalled 600,000 units for an 11 per cent market share. Samsung watches running on Tizen software grabbed most of the rest of the market with a 7.5 per cent share.
– With files from The Associated Press