Earlier this month, I was sitting in a conventional conference room in Google’s New York office, complete with the standard movable whiteboard, an oblong gray table, a conference phone and an intercom system.
This, however, was not the standard product briefing.
Roughly two dozen smartwatches sat on the table, bearing the names of trendy brands such as Tag Heuer and Movado. Yes, Google’s head of Android Wear was in the room, but so were six sharply dressed representatives from the fashion world. The watches came in different materials, bands and, most importantly, sizes.
The message was clear: Android Wear isn’t just about geek, its new focus is on chic.
Consider this a second act for Android Wear, which has struggled since it came out of the gate three years ago at the Google I/O developer conference. Though people are starting to warm up to smartwatches, the ones they’re buying are the Apple Watch or Samsung’s Tizen-powered Gear S watches. Android Wear is missing out. Its most successful partner, Motorola, stopped making watches.
As result, the usual Android partners like Samsung and LG were nowhere to be found at the briefing. In their place were brands you’re likely to see at a Macy’s, from Emporio Armani to Michael Kors.
For David Singleton, who leads the Android Wear team for Google, the plethora of watches on the table were part of Android’s philosophy to create different products that fit your unique tastes.
“It’s really cool to be sitting here … and really see that diversity we were aiming for really come to life,” he said in an interview.
It’s no coincidence Google is opting for a more couture makeover. Its partnership with the Fossil Group, which makes watches for…