It all comes down to one word – intimacy, or intimacy of communication…I guess it comes down to three words and the Apple Watch does that one thing better than Android Wear. Google understands the technical side of things, but they sometimes forget the fact that within that technology – between the smartphone and the smartwatch – there are people with complicated emotions, fragile egos and a need to feel connected to each other, not just their technology. Apple understands this, they exploit it, and they advertise it and they sell it better than anyone does.
The days are long gone where families and loved ones sit around a dinner table or living room and physically talk or communicate with one another. We no longer have that personal or intimate face-to-face conversation where you can read the others' emotions – now we send an emoticon if we want the person on the other end of a text message to know how we are feeling. We have become a society of technology, but rather than make our lives easier, all of this technology seems to have added even more pressure – people can instantly text message you no matter where you are – on a break, at lunch, or trying to have a rare, one-on-one conversation with your kid. It seems we are always 'on call' from the office, the boss or even a close friend, when all you want is a reflective moment. Now, more than ever, people are feeling that innate need for a closeness or connection with a physical being.
Google's Android Wear has done an excellent job at connecting our wrists with our smartphone. No longer is it necessary to pull out your smartphone to look for notifications, we can simply look at our wrists. Both the Apple Watch and Android Wear smartwatches can track our fitness activities, and then synchronize that data with Health, Google Fit or a third party application. They can act as a remote for things such as music playback or your smartphone's camera shutter. We can even customize the hell out of them, especially the Android Wear smartwatches – they have been around longer and have an open system for third party app developers.
For years now, Apple has allowed Pebble and Android Wear manufacturers to design, build, and test and market the smartwatch. Now they will swoop in with their better idea and market it as it was their own. While Android Wear will most likely have Android Wear support for iOS, the Apple Watch will never work with an Android phone. It is all about control and keeping you in the Apple ecosystem…another place where Apple excels.
Android Wear does have its advantages over the Apple Watch – they have great battery life and a few models have built-in GPS for tracking your runs without having to carry your smartphone, some Android Wear devices are certified waterproof, whereas the Apple Watch can withstand light rain. Android Wear can offer us more choices from several manufacturers and those choices can be round or square, plastic or metal. There is a significant price advantage with Android Wear whereas the starting prices for the 38mm Apple Watch is $349 and the 42mm size is $399 and the midrange priced stainless steel one starts at $549 and $599 depending on the size.
While many believe that Android Wear is going in the right direction, the one place it fails and the Apple Watch succeeds is in that category of fun and social media between wearers. I am not talking about sending or receiving a text on your smartwatch. But a quick and little insignificant smiley face, the beating of a heart, a simple flower or a personal check mark drawing – sent when you most feel like it. There is nothing more fun and emotionally touching than receiving an unexpected 'gift' at an unexpected time – a communication that goes wrist-to-wrist or heart-to-heart.
Android Wear has the technical connections down, but they need to expand to an emotional connection as well. It is those emotional moments that will help separate people from their money and make it just one more reason we 'need' to purchase a smartwatch. It is just like leaving your significant other a little note on the counter before you leave for work for them to wake-up to, see and read. That 'ah moment' is a simple, but powerful thing and one that will help sell a lot of overpriced Apple Watches.