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The Apple Watch will finally have some real competition in 2017

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We’ll have more options when it comes to the watches we want to ‘Wear’

 

The Apple Watch is the best smartwatch for iOS-device users (I say that it is the best smartwatch overall but some people disagree). It also hasn’t had any real competition on iOS in the 2 years that it has been around. There are those Pebble smartwatches (I owned one too) but they are geekier than many would like and Android Wear on iOS has been a joke. The Pebble 2 and Pebble Time 2 are releasing this month and while they don’t bring down their geek-factor, the latter part of the previous statement is going to change in 2017 with the release of Android Wear 2.0 and that’ll finally bring some competition to the Apple Watch for iOS-device owners.

Android Wear 2.0, when released in 2017 (it was supposed to be released this fall, but Google announced a delay this week), will bring with it the Google Play Store for Android Wear. Not only does the release of the Play Store for Android Wear devices bring Google’s vision of decoupling smartwatches from smartphones one step closer to fruition, it also brings the full might of Android Wear to iOS. Though Android Wear watches can be used with iPhones, the experience is quite limited and nowhere as good as it is when they are paired to Android smartphones. You can use an Android Wear watch to glance at your notifications and your time and not much else. That’s because a pivotal cog in the Android Wear machine, apps, is missing in the current iteration of Android Wear for iOS. iOS, by design, doesn’t let Google bring the Google Play Store for Android Wear apps to iOS. So, what we have right now is Android Wear without most of the Android experience that powers it. With the release of the Play Store on Android Wear watches next year, users will be able to download apps directly from their smartwatches and they’ll work as well as they do on Android Wear watches paired with Android phones right now. This’ll also bring a couple more advantages to iOS users looking to buy a smartwatch. Firstly, they’ll be able to get a smartwatch for way less than what it costs to buy an Apple Watch today (some Android Wear watches retail at as low as INR 10k – $150). And secondly, they’ll be able to buy their smartwatch in a shape which isn’t a square with rounded edges (Android Wear smartwatches come in all shapes and sizes – ok, not all sizes; all of today’s Android Wear watches are pretty big!).

So, 2017 is going to be a good year for smartwatch users on iOS. Let’s hope Google doesn’t delay Android Wear 2.0 further, though.

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