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The number of Android Wear downloads has crossed the into the one to five million range on Google Play, suggesting that around one million people are wearing smartwatches powered by Google software.
Last month, estimates of 720,000 Android Wear smartwatches shipping in 2014 were reported, causing some to consider Google’s watch ambitions to be a flop. At the time, Android Wear downloads were in the 500,000 to 1,000,000 range.
I noted then there were several reasons not to be surprised or disappointed by the Android Wear numbers; only a few watches were even available for much of the measured time period and that the platform was still young yet. Simply put: It’s going to take time for [company]Google[/company] to mature the software and for hardware makers to make more attractive watches.
This week, two companies are doing just that. LG is showing off its Watch Urbane while Huawei has debuted its fashionable Huawei Watch made with stainless steel case and sapphire crystal. These join the handful of previously available watches, some of which have had less than inspiring designs while others such as the Moto 360 have stood out with solid looks. Motorola is adding customized options for its watch later this month.
Given that there are now a million Android Wear downloads, it’s reasonable to assume one of three things with earlier estimates. One, the 720,000 shipments in 2014 was accurate and there was nearly a 50 percent jump in Android Wear sales over the past two months. Two, the shipment estimate was low to begin with. Or three, the most likely scenario to me, is a combination of both: Estimates were low and a meaningful number people did buy an Android Wear watch in either January or February.
Unfortunately, we’ll likely never know for sure. While Google can easily tell how many Android phones with its services are bought through phone activations, you don’t activate an Android Wear watch; it’s an extension of an Android phone. The best proxy we have to determine Android Wear sales is the number of downloads for its companion app, which are now one million or more.
The next cross-over point for the Android Wear app happens once it’s downloaded more than 5 million times. If the software and hardware keep improving, I think there’s a chance we see that this year; perhaps in the late second or third quarter, depending on the platform’s maturity, device design and pricing. And as they say, “a rising tide lifts all boats,” so I anticipate next week’s Apple Watch exepcted launch will raise overall consumer awareness of smartwatches, which could help Android Wear sales.