The war between Android and iOS has always been limited to phones. That is until wearables started to grow in popularity a little over three years ago.
It is not surprising why wearable tech is taking the world by storm. It is changing the way humans interact with machines. This technology has squeezes many of the cutting-edge features such as voice control into a device that is designed to fit on the body.
While a lot of attention is paid to the design and aesthetics of the wearables, the operating system is the heart of any wearable. It is the operating system that makes the wearable worth anything.
Android Vs iOS
Android has been on the cutting edge of smart technology for years. Because it is open source, the software can be easily tweaked to suit different devices. It is therefore not surprising that many wearable device makers have integrated the operating system in their devices.
Apple took some time to enter the wearables market. By 2014, the leading operating systems in the market were Android Wear, Android, Linux and Tizen. However, the introduction of Apple Watch changed the wearables landscape.
Research data from the beginning of the year showed that the Apple Watch was the most popular smartwatch with first quarter sales estimated at 2.2 million. While these figures were high, it was a significant drop in market share from 63% to 52.4%.
The large market share that Apple Watch enjoys is largely as a result of its loyal fan base. It may also be attributed to the growing availability of iOS apps that are designed specifically for use on smartwatches. WatchOS has now become the measuring stick against which other smartwatch platforms are being compared to. The OS’ momentum is expected to increase in coming years.
However, Android isn’t to be taken for granted. Although the lion’s share of the US market has been taken by Apple, the global market belongs to Android. With a market share of slightly over 13% in the US, Android is building momentum to give Apple a good run in the coming years. The huge and open platform has made the industry unpredictable. Android Wear’s market share in Europe stood at 71% in 2015.
Where Apple Leads
- The release of Apple Watch created what is known as a knock-on effect. Loyal Apple fans and anyone interested in the latest technological gadgets wanted to have their own Apple Watch. The watch was therefore an easy sale.
- Apple Watch Gold was marketed as an exclusive item. Being the costliest wearable in the market, it is something only a few can afford.
- Apple Watch’s user interface is simple and attractive. Unlike Android Wear’s interface which depends on the manufacture of the device, Apple controls the interface on Apple Watch. The Touch screen dial made it an instant winner.
- Apple provides upgrades at a faster rate than Android.
Why Android is still a threat
While Apple may be enjoying a large share of the wearables market, there is no time to relax. Android is still a steady contender for the title.
- Many people who buy Apple Watch do so for ornamental purposes. While those who purchase Android do so as tech wear. Android therefore is currently concentrating on its main purpose.
- Android tech pieces are low cost pieces. A recent survey in the US showed that 61% of the people who participated would buy tech wearables if they cost less than$ 100 and $200. Apple products are high range products with basic models costing more than $300. Android is therefore set to gain increasing popularity.
- Android Wear is compatible with any other Android device. This gives the wearables a large space in which to flourish.
- There are many different wearable devices around the world that make use of Android Wear including Beddit, Google glass, Ringly and Pebble. Apple Watch is currently the only wearable from Apple that uses the Apple WatchOS.
- The battery life on Android wear has also proven to be much longer than of Apple Watch.
It is still difficult to say who lead the charge in wearables in the next few years if the statistics are anything to go by. Android is making waves in the global market while Apple continues to dominate the US market.
The only fact you can be sure of is that the switch to wearables will see the industry grow in leaps and bounds. Apps development for wearables will decide how It will penetrate with customers and their daily lives.
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