The Android Wear section of the online Google Store suddenly vanished just as Google unveiled a host of new devices in its recently held Pixel 2 event.
The quiet disappearance of Android Wear does not necessarily mean that Google is discontinuing the wearable device operating system, but it raises questions on its direction.
Android Wear Disappears From Google Store
Upon visiting the Google Store, users will be greeted with a splash page featuring all the devices that Google announced at its Oct. 4 event. However, a quick look around the online store reveals that the Android Wear section is nowhere to be found.
Users can still access the Android Wear page directly, but this year's smartwatches that utilize the operating system, namely the LG Watch Sport and LG Watch Style, are shown as no longer available.
Speculation on what prompted Google to remove a link to the Android Wear section on the Google Store homepage revealed two possible scenarios. Google either wants to feature only Google-branded products in the Google Store, or the company was slowly pushing Android Wear out as it becomes less important.
Android Wear Here To Stay?
Android Wear Googler Hoi Lam later confirmed that the removal of an Android Wear link on the Google Store was done due to the decision to stock only Google-made hardware in the online store. This meant that the LG-branded smartwatches no longer followed the criteria, and it made no sense to have an Android Wear link that contained no devices for sale. Instead, Google helped create Android Wear storefronts at other online retail stores, such as Amazon.
Android Wear is not going anywhere, and is here to stay. However, with no exposure on the Google Store, the wearable device operating system will likely fall behind Apple's watchOS.
Google has also not really made much of an effort for Android Wear recently, with no mention of the software at this year's Google I/O and no known plans for a Google-branded Android Wear smartwatch. That's a shame, considering the potential of Android Wear 2.0 that was released in February.
Customers browsing through the Google Store will see products such as the highly touted Pixel 2 smartphone, the new Home Mini and Home Max smart speakers, the artificial intelligence-powered camera named Google Clips, and the real-time translation-capable Pixel Buds. Unfortunately, Android Wear will not be there, raising two questions: is Google planning to unveil a Google-branded smartwatch soon, or will Android Wear remain in the background of the company's other hardware?