Android Wear officially arrives on iOS: Apple iPhones work with Google watches

You don't need to spend $349.99 or more for a smartwatch that pairs with your iPhone thanks to a new Google app. Will iPhone owners take the bait and buy into Android Wear? I'm dubious.
Written by Kevin Tofel, Contributor

Huawei spilled the beans last week and now it's official: Google Android Wear smartwatches work with Apple iPhones.

Google introduced its Android Wear companion app for iOS on Monday, which lets the two devices work together. Apple's own watch is exclusive to iPhones; a practice that's highly unlikely to change.


You'll need iOS 8.2 or better on your iPhone 5, 5c, 5s, 6, or 6 Plus to run the Android Wear for iOS app.

At time of launch only the LG Watch Urbane is supported; Google says support for "all future Android Wear watches, including ones from the likes of Huawei, Asus and Motorola" is coming soon.

Of course, the most robust native smartwatch experience for iPhone owners is provided by the Apple Watch. Due to software limitations, Android Wear for iOS isn't bringing support for third--party Google Play Store apps.

Instead, Android Wear for iOS brings notifications, fitness tracking and contextual information from pop-up Google Now cards, which is the core experience of Google's smartwatches.

Gmail, Google Calendar, Now, Apple Calendar work with the software and all third-party app notifications will be available. Google Fit, Translate, Weather, Alarm, and Agenda are also supported. Android Wear watch owners can still use gestures to flick through information too on their watch, change their watch faces, and perform voice searches.

Again, the richer experience of broad native app availability is missing here. If you want that as an iPhone owner, a more expensive Apple Watch is the answer.

But for basic notifications and Google's own services, you can now spend far less for your smartwatch: There are models that start at $149.99; less than half of the $350 for a 38 millimeter Apple Watch Sport.

Still, I'm dubious that Android Wear for iOS will noticeably boost sales of Google-powered watches. Apple device owners are fiercely loyal in general.

Many of them are fine with using Google software on their iPhone, iPad or Mac but far fewer are interested in Android-powered hardware that messes with the iOS experience.

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