Report: Google is working on making Android Wear compatible with iOS

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A report from The Verge says that Google is working on making Android Wear cross platform, which would mean an iPhone user could slap on a device like the Moto 360

Third-party developers have already figured out how to make this work in a hack-y, kludge-y way, and apparently that’s how the iOS-related code was initially discovered. One developer claims that Google’s been working on since Android Wear 4.4.

Jeff Chang, Android Wear product manager, had also hinted at the possibility that Google could be working on iOS compatibility. “We always want as many as possible to enjoy our experience,” Chang told the Huffington Post back in October. “In terms of enabling more people to use Android Wear, we’re very interested in making that happen.”

There are a few hurdles before any of this can become a reality. For one, Chang reminds us in the Huffington Post interview that “…it’s not 100 percent under [Google’s] control.” Why would Apple, with its famously, well-manicured walled garden allow Android into the fold? Especially since it’s been struggling to kick Google’s apps and services, either by devoloping its own apps (Apple Maps) or choosing Google competitors (making Bing the search default for Spotlight searches).

Android Wear watches would work with the iPhone via a companion app that would push notifications and Google Now cards to the wearable. Other smartwatch vendors, like Pebble, have gotten features like music control to work, so there's no reason Google couldn't do the same.

Why this matters: Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you can’t avoid the onslaught of Apple Watch reviews that went live this week. However, many of the reviews cite the Watch’s style and flair over its functionality, which actually bodes well for Android Wear. If iPhone users aren’t too keen on the way Apple does things in the wearable software department, then they can bring home an Android Wear watch instead, with software that’s arguably a bit more refined. Or if they just want a greater choice of styles or a more affordable price, Android Wear watches could provide the answer.

There are plenty of reasons for Apple to fear Android Wear’s possible cross-platform future. Will it accept the healthy competition? Perhaps we’ll have the answers by next month’s Google I/O developers conference.

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