Android Wear is finally coming into its own and it may or may not come as a surprise that the tech industry's leaders aren't the only ones responsible. Most of the big names in smart-tech appear to have mostly dropped support for the wearable platform, opting to either go with their own platform as Samsung has or to put development and design on hold. Contrary to what may be popular belief, however, that doesn't mean anybody should count Google's Android-based smartwatches out of the running. The slack is being picked up by the fashion industry, according to the most recent reports out of Baselworld 2017 – the Switzerland-based World Watch and Jewelry Show. Google's own Vice President of Engineering and Wear guru David Singleton attended the event and had quite a bit to say.
Singleton began by pointing out that last year Google had partnered-up to announced a total of 10 different smartwatch models. However, by the end of Baselworld 2017 – which runs from March 23, through March 30 – they will have doubled that effort, having announced: "20 watches with more yet to come later in the year." He went on to explain that only two of the 20 watches are coming from the expected tech brands. This year, those include LG and Huawei. The rest of the wearables are being tailor-made by the fashion brands of the world, including Tommy Hilfiger, Hugo Boss, Michael Kors, Guess, Montblanc, Tag Heuer, Emporio Armani, Movado and more. The move excites Google, Singleton elaborated, because the platform was originally intended to follow the Android mantra of being "together, not the same." The up-and-coming watches will look and feel more like traditional watches designed by the fashion companies making them, allowing for a greater variety and more expression when compared to the earliest iterations of Android Wear devices. That's great news for anybody who may have been on the fence about picking up one of the ultimate digital timepieces.
Beyond that, Singleton went on to talk about the general state of Android Wear in the face of lacking optimism. According to Singleton, the company set what he personally thought were "audacious goals" for the platform in 2014 and handily surpassed those goals with "double-digit percentage sales and activations growth every year since." Moreover, he mentioned that the holiday season for 2016 saw a 70 percent increase over the same season in 2015 and pointed to the Play Store downloads numbers – which currently sit at 5 to 10 million installations. Additionally, Singleton noted, three of the top five most popular watches sold during that same season had been made by fashion brands, rather than coming from the tech giants. Fashion company wearables will almost certainly be more expensive than their counterparts, but watches have always been as much about fashion as time-keeping, so the shifting focus may yet prove to be what sets Android Wear above and apart in the wearables industry.