O fato é que a Apple vendeu, em poucos dias, mais de 1 milhão de relógios, enquanto o Google não conseguiu atingir o mesmo número ao longo de todo o ano de 2014.
Como enfrentar uma empresa do porte da Apple, com produtos excelentes, dinheiro para propaganda, rede de distribuição mundial e, mais importante, dona de um ecossistema que atrai o consumidor pela facilidade?
Um artigo na Fast Company de hoje dá uma boa visão sobre isso, e inclusive propõe algumas possibilidades:
Although Apple hasn’t revealed any official sales numbers—and says it doesn’t plan to—several unofficial estimates claim that Apple has at least cracked the 1 million sales mark. Google’s Android Wear platform only shipped 720,000 units in all of 2014, according to Canalys.
Just as it did with smartphones and tablets, Apple has essentially created the smartwatch market. But don’t write off Android Wear just yet. Through a series of seemingly low-key changes, Google is quietly positioning itself for a stronger second act.
A few weeks ago, Google announced Android Wear 5.1.1, and while the version number doesn’t suggest major improvements, the update will make third-party apps much more useful.
One notable change extends Android Wear’s always-on display capabilities to third-party apps, so they can leave information on the screen in a low-power, black-and-white mode. Prior to the update, Android Wear would always revert to the clock screen after a few seconds of inactivity, regardless of what you were doing.
Google will also make it easier to open smartwatch apps in the first place, with a launcher that users can open by tapping on the main screen. When Android Wear first launched, Google seemed to deliberately hide the launcher, preferring that app makers focus on actionable notifications. But developers say Google may have gotten ahead of itself with that plan.
“My guess is they went a bit too fast going notification-only and they found users are confused by the lack of structure,” says Q42 developer Taco Ekkel, who created an app for controlling Philips Hue light bulbs. “The notification-instead-of-apps model is the future, but people (both users and many app developers) need time to get there.”
In the meantime, the launcher will give users easier access to functions that might not come up through notifications alone. Aaron Sarazan, who leads Android development for the personal finance app Level Money, says notifications are great for showing a record of recent transactions, but not so much for letting users look up how much they can spend. “Just by virtue of removing the number of taps to get to the app list, that helps a lot,” he says.
Google’s original vision for Android Wear had little to do with launching apps on your wrist. Instead, Wear was supposed to deliver information in just the right context, either through app notifications or cards from Google Now.
It was the right idea, but the execution was flawed. In many cases, Google Now can be useless (as in every time it offers directions back to work from your lunch break), creepy (like when it reminds you of recent Google searches), or just annoying (like when it pesters you with updates from a site you visited once). Turn off enough of the things that bother you about Google Now, and you may not be left with much. This in turn puts undue pressure on notifications, which themselves can be bothersome without careful pruning.
Google Now, for instance, is already available for iOS, and while the new third-party integrations are currently Android-only, it’s possible that this could change in the future. The same could be true for Google’s Custom Voice Actions.
As for standalone apps, Level Money’s Sarazan says getting them to work with a paired iPhone probably wouldn’t require much work, especially if Google provides an API to forward data to the watch over Bluetooth. “Maybe it would have to use a different Bluetooth protocol but that would probably be trivial for the end developer,” he says. Between standalone apps, Google Now, and voice actions, Android Wear might not even need actionable notifications to feel like a capable platform.
In any case, Google has time to get it right. The smartwatch industry is still young, and while the Apple Watch is getting most the attention, the developers I spoke with aren’t walking away from Android Wear anytime soon. With better software and a wider potential user base, Google’s smartwatch platform still stands a fighting chance.
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Cabe lembrar: o Google já colocou o Android em geladeiras, fornos microondas, relógios, óculos, coleiras de cachorros e uma infinidade de itens. Até agora, contudo, ele não conseguiu resultados muito inspiradores. Evidentemente, há tempo de reverter isso – mas agora ele tem que se preocupar com o relógio da Apple e, dependendo dos resultados que este relógio obtiver, a Apple poderá lançar alguns produtos derivados dele. Isso, sim, dificultaria sobremaneira a vida do Google.