Google’s Android Wear may have gotten out of the gate before the Apple Watch, but so far that’s not giving it much of an advantage.
Yesterday we learned that out of the 4.6 million wearables shipped in 2014, only 720,000 were Android smartwatches. That covers mostly the second half of the year following the grand unveiling of Android Wear at the Google I/O developers’ conference last summer.
As you’d expect from an Android-based operating systems, lots of different manufacturers rushed in with devices of all shapes and sizes. LG, Asus, Sony, Motorola, and Samsung all rolled out Android Wear devices last year, though Motorola was the leader among the Android Wear crowd thanks to the Moto 360.
But so far, Android Wear devices aren’t getting much traction with consumers.
For the moment, the way still seems pretty clear for the Apple Watch when it finally arrives in April. Estimates for how many units Apple might sell are all over the map. At least one analyst has projected that Apple will sell 26.3 million Apple Watch units by the end of 2015, just eight months after it goes on sale.
That would leave Android Wear choking on its dust. Though if one wants to be optimistic, perhaps a successful launch by Apple will at last drive widespread consumer interest in wearables and give Android Wear a lift.
And, of course, there’s always the chance that we discover that Apple has lost its magic touch, that the first all-new product launched under chief executive Tim Cook fails to wow the masses, and the Apple Watch sputters.
But more likely is that Apple Watch opens to a substantial lead over Android Wear amid the usual tidal wave of publicity and hype that surrounds anything Apple does.
And that would leave Google and its ecosystem of device makers scrambling to update the platform to try to regain some ground.