Whether you just received your first Android Wear device or have been using one for a while you have most likely noticed that app discovery for the platform can be a little difficult. As of now that’s no longer the case with Google adding an Android Wear category to the Google Play on both the mobile and the web stores.
The new entry lists several categories of apps within the heading, including Android Wear essentials, Mail, Weather, notification apps and a lot more. There’s also notably a focus on health related Android Wear apps, unsurprising due to most Android Wear watches including a step counter, with others including heart rate monitors and even a GPS in the case of the Sony Smart Watch 3.
Google began adding an ‘Android Wear Badge’ to Google Play entries in October last year to help with discovery of Android Wear apps, but the addition of an entirely new category will lead to more app installs.
Google has added categories only sparingly in the last few years, adding the ‘Family’ category in June last year after announcing the feature at Google I/O in May, though we are still yet to see a ‘Tablet’ category for apps supporting a tablet mode, which would answer at least one of criticisms surrounding the recent launch of the exquisitely built, yet feature lacking Pixel C.
App discovery is a notable problem for app stores, Google Play has been demonstrably difficult to search – despite Google’s background in search – due to a terrible search algorithm which often won’t find an app, even Google’s own apps some times, even with an exact search. Including the Android Wear category in Google Play will help this for those developers who have jumped on board.
While Google and OEMs have been loathe to announce numbers, the Android Wear app, needed to sync a phone to an Android Wear device, has been downloaded only between 1 million-5 millon times from Google Play – an inexact estimate at best. Google has expanded their available install base somewhat with the expansion of Android Wear compatibility to iOS in September last year, though the iOS App store entry doesn’t list number of downloads of that app. But still, OEMs are building more watches, so sales numbers must be sufficient to warrant more models.
This is certainly a welcome addition for Wear users and most likely indicates that the number of apps designed to work with or on Google’s wearable platform has grown to a point where publicly listing them all would not attract undue negative comments.
If you’re in the mood for some Wear goodness for your wrist head on over to the Play Store and see what they have for you.