At its big event Wednesday, Google launched a ton of new hardware: Two phones, a laptop, two new smart speakers, and wireless headphones.
But new smartwatches were suspiciously absent from the event, even though the latest major version of Google’s wearables platform, Android Wear 2, is still relatively new. Not only that, but, as noticed by 9to5Google, Google actually removed the “Watches” category from its online store altogether.
The new Google Store now lists only the following categories: Phones, Home & Entertainment, Laptops & Tablets, Virtual Reality and Accessories.
This division definitely makes more sense than the previous one, when Google had separate categories for Connected Home and Streaming Devices, but one category — Watches — wasn’t just reorganized, it’s been completely removed from the menu. Check out our comparison of the new and old Google Store menu, below.
Interestingly, the Android Wear section of the Google Store can still be accessed, but the only two watches there, LG Watch Style and LG Watch Sport, aren’t available for purchase.
The smartwatch category isn’t as hot as it used to be, and some electronics manufacturers, such as Motorola, have essentially given up on it. But as far as we know, LG is still making them, and there were plenty new Android Wear devices this year.
It’s too early to proclaim Android Wear dead. Its official page is still online, Google made no announcements about killing the platform, and the fact that Google is not interested in selling actual Wear hardware through its Store doesn’t necessarily mean that Wear is no more.
But it could mean that the smartwatches Google had in its store weren’t selling particularly well, and that Wear isn’t as important as it once was to Google.
We’ve asked Google about this change and will update this article when we hear from them.
UPDATE: Oct. 6, 2017, 8:25 a.m. UTC After a bit more digging, it looks that the change has more to do with Google Store transitioning into a place that’s for first-party ( Google-branded) products only. This has been publicly confirmed by Google’s Hoi Lam on Thursday. Third party products, which includes LG smartwatches, are gone. And yes, as Lam points out, Google has partnered with retailers such as Amazon for custom Wear store fronts, so the company still invests in Wear. Still, with the Watches category gone from Google Store, one can’t help but feel that the category is treated a bit differently than, say, phones or smart speakers.