Android Wear smartwatches are now an option for iPhone users who don’t fancy the Apple Watch. Starting Monday, Android smartwatches were able to pair with Apple’s smartphones, according to a blog entry by Google.
To get started Android Wear smartwatch owners need to download a companion app to pair the device to an iPhone 5 or above running iOS 8.2 or later. For now, official support is limited to the LG Watch Urbane. However, Android Wear for iOS will work with all Android watches in the future, such as those from Huawei, Asus and Motorola. Google doesn’t mention older devices in its blog entry, but Reddit users have reported successful pairings with the Moto 360, which launched last year.
With an Android Wear watch on iOS, iPhone owners will be able to view notifications, track fitness goals, access “OK, Google” voice search and Google Now cards. But there are a few limitations. Apple’s App Store rules disallow a third-party app store on the iPhone. So for now, there’s no third-party app support and Google only offers a selection of watch faces for Android Wear users on iOS, the Verge reported.
The global smartwatch market grew 223.2 percent to 18.1 million units shipped during the second quarter, driven by Apple Watch at the No. 2 spot, IDC reported. But Android manufacturers aren’t taking it sitting down. During the IFA Berlin trade show, a number of smartwatches are expected to debut, including the Asus ZenWatch 2, a new Moto 360, Huawei Watch and Samsung’s Galaxy Gear S2. In September, Apple is also expected to release WatchOS 2 for Apple Watch, which will bring native third-party apps and other features to the smartwatch via a software update.