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On the face of it, this is a mostly boring tech story where Google has simply renamed Wear OS. A bit of lively speculation makes it far more exciting, however.
First up, a Reddit user (dkzv12) cleverly points out that the name should really be “Wear OS by Google Smartwatch (was Wear OS by Google (was Android Wear))” simply and correctly because Android Wear was rebranded Wear OS only as recently as March 2018. And it would have been that exact & crazily long name if an old product-namer at Suunto had recently been hired to do the naming job at Google. Remember the snappily-monikered Suunto Spartan Sport Wrist HR Baro? I do.
But really, Google only called it Wear OS because Apple had Watch OS and, I think, Fitbit followed later with FitOS. Even the most simple-minded amongst us can see what they all collectively did there. Yep…think of something and add OS on the end, it just makes the “OS bit” nicer and fluffier. I mean, maybe Garmin could have called their underlying software Sport OS rather than Connect IQ? Maybe. In the same vein, it would have worked as a name but it wouldn’t have been truly original creativity would it? Yet what all these names share is their techiness. Let’s face it YOU are techy if you are reading this and I probably am techy too, simply by writing about an ‘OS’ or a smartwatch – so if you and I think about those names they quickly make sense to us. For the vast majority of humanity, however, they sound techy and the populous would probably rather take more kindly to them if they didn’t sound techy.
So maybe Google just wanted to personalise it a bit and make it clear by ‘doing what it says on the tin’ ie that, “Hey, it’s still called Wear OS but we make it… and we make it for smartwatches“.
Or they could have called it marshmallow or rhubarb or super-fudge-chunk, that would be FAR more personal and a far-cooler name. Wouldn’t it? Err, actually no, that would just be what Google call their versions of Android and the names are clearly straight from the mouths of a senior techy-person who thinks s/he is cool. Personally, I think techies should revert to their place in 1990’s society when, I’m pretty sure, only other techies thought certain other techies were cool. And they weren’t. At least not then.
Back to the re-branded app or new watch…whichever it is
Of course, the other explanation is that the ‘Google Smartwatch’ part of the new app name finally means that a new Google Pixel watch is soon going to hit the Wear OS-related shelves with a battery life of 1.3 days. Maybe. I’d buy that argument but I’m a sucker for a good rumour of a new sports/fitness watch.
Other theories are that it heralds a new Fitbit Wear OS watch about to be released with Google branding. Remember Google bought Fitbit recently?. Well, they had their offer accepted BUT it has still not passed regulatory approval which means that the deal might fall through. So I doubt very much that Google would have YET started any kind of re-branding based on what might happen with the Fitbit deal’s approval. So, simply because I think this is just not possible, it’s probably the true explanation in reality. #ContraryLogic. Bring on the new Fitbit watch please Mr Google.
Source: My phone and reddit, via Gadgets & Wearables