Google may change the name of its Android Wear platform to Wear OS, according to evidence discovered inside the latest Google Play Services app update, and the Android P Developer Preview software. Android Wear is Google’s operating system for wearable devices, including smartwatches. The potential name change was spotted by an Android Wear watch owner during the device setup process, and a screenshot was posted on Reddit mentioning the new name, plus a new logo.
In the Google Play Services app update taking it to version 12.4, a notification alerting owners of a nearby watch to pair replaces the Android Wear name with Wear OS. In version 12.5, a beta version to accompany Android P’ developer preview, the Wear OS name is accompanied by a new logo which looks like a stylized letter W. The logo uses lines and dots in color schemes reminiscent of other Google logos, in particular Google Assistant. The notification alert also mentions a Wear OS app, which indicates the Android Wear app will also be rebranded.
If Android Wear becomes Wear OS, it will be the latest in a string of high profile rebranding exercises from Google, with the change from Android Pay to Google Pay being the most recent. This brought several Google payment systems together under one name, simplifying the experience for everyone, and providing a single, unified name and app. What would prompt Google to change the name of Android Wear?
There has been no official announcement of Wear OS, or any confirmation a change will come, so it’s speculation for now. Removing the Android name may help people better understand watches with Android Wear installed work with iOS devices too — which wasn’t the case when Android Wear first arrived — but could also be part of a larger revamp of the platform and device ecosystem. Google hasn’t paid much attention to Android Wear recently, ignoring it during Google I/O last year, and failing to produce a benchmark smartwatch along the lines of its Pixel phones. It even removed Android Wear watches from the Play Store.
Google’s annual developer conference will take place in May this year, and may bring some more news, or if new hardware is part of the plan, we may have to wait for the public release of Android P and any new Pixel phones later in 2018 to learn more.