The one thing that I kind of dislike about my Apple Watch is the fact that it looks like an Apple Watch. I’m not necessarily saying that’s a bad thing, but there’s only so much you can do to make it look fancy when you’re going out for dinner with your partner. Sure, you can get a rose gold watch or one that just looks a bit fancier, but then what about when you’re working out? I guess what I’m saying is that it doesn’t have a lot of versatility when it comes to its appearance. But, with Google announcing Wear OS, there might be some competition in that particular arena.
This will be Google’s third major release of the Wear OS platform, but the first since rebranding it. Google is finally showing an understanding that what people want from a smartwatch is not a replacement for their phone. And maybe that’s a bit what Apple is doing? There’s very little chance that I’m ever going to go anywhere without my phone, so I don’t necessarily need something to replace it. I do, however, need something to compliment it, and I think that’s what Google is trying to do. According to Google, people want a reliable daily assistant and coach that is both fast and unobtrusive. I can get behind that statement.
Dennis Troper, the director of product for Wear OS, has indicated that this team focused on three key areas when they were redesigning the platform. To start, they wanted to help people remain connected, they also wanted to provide proactive help from Google Assistant and they want to enable people to lead healthier lives. That might sound a bit counterintuitive, but Troper believes that helping people remain connected will free them up to be more present in the real world. This is a goal that ties in neatly with Google’s recently launched Digital Wellbeing initiative. Which is the company’s way of trying to make people aware of how much time they spend on their phones. It allows them to set time limits for specific apps and ultimately know when to disconnect.
Getting back to my original point about the Apple Watch, looking like an Apple Watch. These new Android watches look less like a smartwatch, and more like an everyday watch. But, the question of how you will go from working out in the gym to heading to work in your formal business attire, to a night on the town with your spouse remains to be seen with this watch as well. I’m not saying that the Apple Watch is perfect, but there is the ability to buy a more generic looking watch (not the sports version, like I have), and then fancy it up with a nice watch band.
But with these watches, you seem to be set with the color. I imagine you can change the band, but it doesn’t look quite as simple as making the change on the Apple Watch. While I am happy to see an alternative to the Apple Watch, I would also like to see something a bit more versatile. Not everyone is doing the same things over and over again in their day. Let’s try to design these watches so I am not stuck with the same look all the time.