Pairing iPhones with Android Wear smartwatches may become possible

Google is said to be developing a version of Android Wear to let iPhone owners sync their phones with smartwatches running Google’s OS.

Google is close to finishing the final technical details, according to a report in The Verge which cited one unnamed source close to the development team.

A Google spokesman declined to comment.

If Google is in fact working on this, it could boost its efforts to compete against Apple’s upcoming Apple Watch. Smartwatches running Android Wear currently derive much of their functionality via an integration with Android-based smartphones. Android Wear smartwatch sales haven’t been great.

But an Android Wear iPhone app would give iPhone owners many less expensive options for a smartwatch besides Apple’s, which starts at US$350. Some smartwatches running Android Wear, such as the LG G watch or Asus ZenWatch, cost $200 or less, and sport some similar features to the Apple Watch, like message notifications, Internet search and music playback.

The big question is whether Apple would allow such an app into its App Store. Many Google apps like Google Maps and Gmail are available in Apple’s store, although they compete with some Apple products. But it wouldn’t be surprising if Apple adopts a more protective attitude towards the Watch, its biggest new product in years.

Apple’s App Store policies for developers forbids apps or metadata that mention the name of another mobile platform. It might be easy to get around that rule by omitting the word “Android” from the app.

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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