Google is rumored to be rebranding Android Wear with a new name and logo as Wear OS, as the operating system occupies a stagnant market for wearable devices.
Google has not confirmed the name change, and therefore has not provided an explanation for the speculated move. However, there are some theories on why the wearable operating system will be renamed as Wear OS.
Android Wear To Become Wear OS
The rumored name change was first spotted by a Redditor and posted on the AndroidWear subreddit. In an uploaded screenshot, it can be seen that the most recent Google Play Services beta update shows a new name and logo for Google's operating system for wearable devices when attempting to connect an Android Wear smartwatch.
Instead of Android Wear, the operating system is being referred to as Wear OS. The new name comes with a stylized "W "as the logo, with lines and dots in the Google colors of blue, yellow, red, and green.
XDA Developers further dug into the rumor by decompiling the Google Play Services beta APK. Looking through the code, several references to Wear OS were spotted, further contributing to the legitimacy of the pending name change.
Why Wear OS?
The lingering question, meanwhile, is why would Google drop the "Android" in the operating system's name and instead go for a more generic branding?
The renaming of Android Wear to Wear OS follows the same direction that Google took when it rebranded Android Pay and combined it with Google Wallet to create Google Pay. Google is apparently looking to generalize its services by removing any associations with the Android mobile operating system.
Rebranding Android Wear to Wear OS also eliminates the notion that Android-Wear powered devices are only available to Android smartphone owners, as Android Wear smartwatches work with iPhones.
Google was referencing the Google Pay brand long before the renaming happened, so this does not mean that the switch to the Wear OS name is imminent. However, if Google will be making an announcement about it soon, it will likely be at the upcoming I/O developers' conference, where Google is also expected to be unveiling Android P.
If Wear OS will indeed be unveiled at this year's I/O, Google may also be planning to announce major initiatives alongside the new name. Google will be looking to revive interest in its operating system for wearable devices, which has been outpaced in the wearables market by the Apple Watch and watchOS.