Google is making a big move to compete against the Apple Watch

LG Watch Urbane smartwatch

Antonio Villas-Boas / Business Insider

Google just announced that smartwatches powered by its Android Wear software will now work with the iPhone.

Until this point, Android Wear smartwatches could only be paired with Android phones.

Now, however, if you have an iPhone you'll be able to download the Android Wear app from Apple's App Store to connect your phone to one of these Google-powered smartwatches.Advertisement

Android Wear smartwatches will work with iPhones running iOS 8.2 and higher, which includes the iPhone 5 and above.

The announcement doesn't come as too much of a surprise, considering Huawei accidentally revealed that its newest smartwatch will be compatible with iPhones on Friday.

Android Wear for iOS will only work with upcoming Android Wear watches, however. The only currently available smartwatch that will support Android Wear for iOS is the LG Watch Urbane, but the company says it'll work with new watches from Huawei, Motorola, and Asus that are coming soon.

The Android Wear experience on the iPhone is going to be limited compared to what you would get with Android, however. You'll be able to use all of Android Wear's most important features, such as seeing your notifications (calls, texts, etc), tracking your fitness, and accessing Google Now, but you can't use any Android Wear apps.

The move gives Google more ammunition to compete with the Apple Watch. It gives iPhone owners a choice - they're no longer restricted to choosing between the Apple Watch, the Pebble, or other less popular smartwatches. And it broadens the audience for Android Wear, too, which is critical since data from Slice Intelligence claims that only 720,000 Android Wear smartwatches were sold in 2014. Apple, by comparison, is estimated to have sold 3.6 million Apple Watches in the few months its been on the market, according to the IDC.Advertisement

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