Has Google given up on Android Wear?
Apple Watch could be about to lose one of its biggest rivals.
The future of the Android Wear platform looks bleak today after Google removed all traces of wearable devices from its online store. Its focus on the platform seems to have fizzled out since it became clear that only Apple could sell smartwatches in large numbers.
Google held a special event on Tuesday to announce a bunch of new devices, including the Pixel 2, Pixelbook, and the Home Mini speaker. During the lengthy keynote, there wasn’t a single mention of the Android Wear platform or new wearable devices.
Now it’s no longer possible to buy any Wear devices from the Google Store. There are categories for phones, home and entertainment, laptops and tablets, virtual reality, and accessories — but not one gives shoppers the option to buy a smartwatch.
In fact, there’s no mention of the Wear platform on the Google Store at all. Google suggests pairing its new Pixel 2 with wireless Pixel Buds, a Daydream View headset, Pixelbook, or a custom Live Case — but not a Wear watch.
The company hasn’t actually confirm that Wear is dead yet, but this certainly doesn’t look promising. At the very least, it suggests Wear simply isn’t a priority for Google anymore, and probably won’t receive the same kind of attention it did before.
Wear got its first unveiling in March 2014, with support from major hardware manufacturers like Motorola, Samsung, LG, and Asus. In 2016, Google announced Wear 2.0, with a revamped user interface, support for standalone apps, and Apple Watch-like complications.
But sales of Wear devices over the past three years have been poor. According to the latest data from Strategy Analytics, the platform holds just 18 percent of global smartwatch market share, while watchOS holds a whopping 57 percent. Even Tizen holds 19 percent.