Wearables with cross-platform capabilities aren't a new concept. Rather it's an old one where it's expected that new Android Wear devices won't work with iOS and vice versa. It's simply a rule that won't be broken. But that seems to be changing more and more.
Motorola, Asus, LG and Huawei started the trend awhile ago with a few others joining up until now. Newer smartwatch models from the former Android-only camp allowed Apple users to finally choose something besides the Apple Watch.
But that's smartwatches. Fitness trackers have been on the cross-platform train since the beginning and it's pretty rare to find a tracker doesn't work with a certain phone. Analogue smartwatches are also more fluent in both systems but occasionally veer towards Android more or strike out on their own and create its own system.
Read next: All you need to know about Android Wear 2.0
Samsung's early days is a perfect example. Its first few wearables would only work with Samsung devices. Trying to pull an Apple was a huge misstep and thankfully it opened up its doors to almost all other Android phones later on, and even iOS, but more on that below.
Understandably, it's difficult to develop software that works with both Android and iOS. Pebble can connect up to both platforms but its updates hit at different times. Just recently Spire, though not a wrist wearable, announced an app for Android where it took the team a whole year to develop the necessary software. These things take time.
And it looks like that time is almost here. Almost is the key word though. With smartwatches, the cross-platform doesn't exactly scream full functionality. But the news this week with the Gear S2 and Spire has been promising.
WEAR - Fitness trackers
Most fitness trackers, if not all, don't require you to be tied down to one device. Right from the early days of the wearable revolution, Pebble, Fitbit, Jawbone, Misfit, Withings and even Microsoft Band (among many others), let Android and Apple phones connect up.
That means you don't have to worry about missing out on certain devices and for the most part, the experiences are the same whether it's Android or iOS. Simply put, you get to choose from a wider variety of wearables.
NEARLY THERE - Samsung & Android Wear
It looks like Samsung is prepping the Gear S2 for the iOS crowd which would be fantastic. It's unclear if this is something that will be carried through to the alleged Gear S3 but we're hoping it Samsung decides to let Apple users on board. That way users would get to see what it's like using the twisty bezel and circular face, in case they were wondering what life is like outside the Apple Watch-verse.
But of course, there are caveats. It sounds like many of the most useful features will work best for Samsung's own phones. That should sound familiar and brings me to the next 'nearly there' set of devices - Android Wear, or more specifically, Android Wear on iOS. It was pretty exciting when first announced considering there were so many Android-ready smartwatches but only the Apple Watch for iOS. However in use, the Android Wear devices didn't provide the same experience and lacked the best features.
SQUARE - Apple Watch
Even though its competitors opened up some functionality for the iOS platform, Apple hasn't budged on compatibility - not even a little. While the Android Wear cross-platform isn't perfect, at least the companies are trying. Apple Watch owners are simply stuck using the Apple ecosystem. Who knows if that will change with Apple Watch 2 but it's highly doubtful.
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