If you want to buy an Android Wear watch, you won’t find one in the Google Store when you pre-order a new Pixel 2 phone, because Google no longer sells them. This doesn’t mean Android Wear is about to disappear, or be dropped by Google. According to Google’s Android Wear expert Hoi Lam, the decision was due to a policy alteration to only sell Google-made products through the store.
The news came from Lam on Twitter, where he continued to say Google is committed to bringing Android Wear products to “more people all over the world than ever before,” through third-party Android Wear stores hosted by other retailers, including Amazon. Now, the Devices section in the Google Play Store hosts only Google phones, laptops, tablets, VR, Google Home, and Google accessories. The app for Android Wear is alive and well in the Play Store, as is Google’s dedicated Android Wear explainer page, and its official Twitter account.
While it’s clear Android Wear isn’t about to be abandoned by Google, or the many companies now making smartwatches with the software, this does show a lack of concern regarding the platform on Google’s part. Google launched new smartphones, a laptop, and other products during its October launch event, but made no mention of a smartwatch at all, despite coming up with other hardware of more questionable usefulness. Android Wear wasn’t a major part of the Google I/O 2017 developer conference keynote either.
Google has never designed and made a smartwatch, and previously sold watches made by other manufacturers through the Google Play Store. The closest it has come, outside of the original Moto 360, are the LG Watch Sport and LG Watch Style, released in April, which were the first to feature Android Wear 2.0. Google would have worked closely with LG to tailor the watches to work with the new software. However, neither watch is a Pixel smartwatch.
Removing Android Wear watches from the Play Store, and not introducing its own to fill the space, indicates Google is content to leave watch design and production to the Fossil group, Movado, Montblanc, Tag Heuer, and many others at this time.