Google may rebrand struggling Android Wear as 'Wear OS'
Evidence found inside the Android P Developer Preview suggests Google's planning to rebrand Android Wear as "Wear OS." The name change, accompanied by a revised logo, could indicate a renewed push into wearables as Google tries to increase sales.
The Wear OS branding was first spotted by Reddit user H3x0n while setting up a new Android Wear device last week. A notification displayed by the app directly referenced "Wear OS" and displayed a new logo for the platform. The design is based around a "W" character decorated with the Google colours.
Further research by XDA-Developers revealed the recently-launched Android P preview refers to Android Wear as Wear OS throughout its internals. Several hidden labels inside the beta of the Google Play Services app display "Wear OS" branding in sections which were previously titled Android Wear. There are also instructions to "open the Wear OS app on your phone."
The findings provide strong evidence that the Android Wear brand is being phased out. While Google hasn't formally explained anything yet, there are several reasons why it could be making the change. Foremost amongst these is the limited success of the Android Wear platform. While initially popular, the operating system hardly ranks in the current charts of top smartwatch manufacturers.
The LG Watch Urbane 2nd Edition LTE, the first Android Wear device to support LTE Google
Nordstrom purchases two startups in push into retail tech
The Android Wear naming could also confuse consumers as it appears to imply a direct connection to Android. Since, Android Wear devices are actually compatible with both iOS and Android, Google may be intending to make this clearer to smartwatch buyers.
By switching to Wear OS, Google can clarify the compatibility of Wear devices while giving the platform a second chance. The company could be planning a reinvigorated push into the wearables market, spearheaded by a new platform name that stands distinguished from the company's other software. The Wear OS branding is also similar to Apple's watchOS platform used on the Apple Watch.
Without any official confirmation from Google, Wear OS remains unexplained for now. It's likely Google will formally announce the platform later in the Android P development cycle, if it is to be released this year. The rebrand follows Google's recent renaming of Android Pay to Google Pay, a decision intended to simplify the service.