The student who says “two dogs ate my homework” instead of one only exacerbates his or her situation rather than help it. The same can be said for top American carrier Verizon, who refunded LG Watch Sport buyers after canceling the Google-LG-partnered smartwatch earlier this Spring without reason. Big Red gave no reason at the time, but one of the reasons suggested behind the cancellation of the Android Wear-powered smartwatch was that Verizon wanted to launch its own Wear24 smartwatch.
And the company did. Called Wear24, the Verizon wearable was meant to be everything other smartwatches couldn’t. Big Red went all out with the device, giving it something akin to AT&T’s NumberSync where one number could access all your devices (including the watch) without trouble. Of course, the Wear24 was so named because it ran on Google’s Android Wear platform. Android Wear has had problems and has struggled to gain large user traction, so what Verizon was thinking with regard to launching another Android Wear-powered smartwatch is anyone’s guess.
Now, after four months, the nation’s largest wireless carrier has discontinued sales of Wear24. In a brief statement to Android site Android Police, Verizon simply gave a one-sentence statement when asked whether or not the company had ceased Wear24 sales: “Yes, wear24 has been discontinued.” That is literally the only sentence Big Red made about the cancellation.
The Verizon Wear24 smartwatch was said to feature similar specs to other Android Wear smartwatches but run on cellular connectivity. There really wasn’t a standout feature that made the device a big seller, and the Apple Watch and Gear S3 Frontier and Classic have no doubt shut down whatever plans Verizon had for Wear24.
Well, it’s sad to say, but it seems that the cancellation of Wear24 was inevitable. Verizon may not have cared that much about the Watch Sport, or thought it would sell well, but then and again, it had never launched a smartwatch of its own to understand how competitive the smartwatch scene can be. Merely placing a logo on a smartwatch, giving it a nice design, and then placing a $300 or so price tag on it isn’t enough to have a hit on your hands nowadays. Apple and Samsung have far more expertise in this business and Verizon should never have dared to eliminate a rival smartwatch to sell its own. I understand this is how Verizon thinks of itself (as an exclusive carrier), but what makes Android so appealing to so many is its open-sourced nature. And yet, there are scores of Android users that are picking up the Gear S3 Frontier and Gear S3 Classic because Google can’t do enough to keep them interested in its wearables platform.
Luxury brand names and logos aren’t enough to increase adoption, and high price tags are certainly a step in the wrong direction. What Google needs is to find a way to make Android Wear relevant. There’s little relevance in AW, little to help it stand out, and, as such, rival platforms are eating AW for lunch. Wear24 has now been cancelled and will go down in smartwatch history as “just another Android Wear smartwatch that couldn’t.”
I have a feeling that few will miss Wear24, though. It’s just a hunch, but it’s a probable one.