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Google steps up fight against iPhone by ripping off more Apple features


Google rips off iPhone features
Spatial audio, unlock with Wear OS, and more on the way.
Image: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

Google plans to make its latest Pixel and Wear OS devices more compelling alternatives to iPhone and Apple Watch by ripping off some of Cupertino’s most popular software features — including spatial audio and AirDrop.

The Android-maker revealed the long list of improvements, which will span all of Google’s software platforms as well as Windows, this week at the CES trade show in Las Vegas. Here’s what you can expect if you plan to ditch your Apple devices and swap sides.

Samsung scraps iPhone support with new Galaxy Watch 4 series


Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 drops iPhone support
Android 6.0 or later is required.
Photo: Samsung

Samsung’s new Galaxy Watch 4 series, introduced alongside its next-generation foldable smartphones on Wednesday, scraps support for iPhone.

The South Korean company’s wearables have been playing nicely with Apple devices since 2017. But with the Galaxy Watch 4, an Android device that supports Google Mobile Services (GMS) is required.

Google splashes $2.1 billion on Fitbit to fight Apple Watch


Fitbit will soon be a Google company.
Photo: Fitbit

Google has confirmed plans to buy Fitbit as it looks to step up its fight against Apple Watch. The deal, worth approximately $2.1 billion, will bring new Made by Google wearables to market.

“Together, we aim to spur innovation in wearables and build helpful products to benefit more people around the world,” Google said.

Fossil’s Gen 5 watches offer better iPhone integration


Fossil Gen 5 smart watches
Fossil unveiled the first Wear OS watches that can make iPhone calls.
Photo: Fossil

Fossil’s fifth-generation smart watches run Google’s Wear OS, but they don’t reject iOS users. Users will be able to make and receive phone calls when connected to an iPhone over Bluetooth, a first for wearable with this operating system. These wrist-worn devices also can go multiple days on a single charge.

The company just unveiled its first Gen 5 models in a range of colors.

New chip gives Google smartwatches a battery boost


Qualcomm's upcoming processor might make Google's Wear OS more competitive.
Apple Watch doesn't face much real competition, but a new Qualcomm processor will improve one of its rivals.
Photo: Google

After teasing it for months, Qualcomm today unveiled its processor designed for Wear OS smartwatches. The Snapdragon Wear 3100 is intended to put Google’s smartwatch platform on the map, instead of a distant third place.

The highlight of the new chip is improved battery life. Qualcomm is promising 4 to 12 extra hours of use, depending on the tasks the wearable is asked to perform.

Processor update might make Google’s Wear OS a better Apple Watch competitor


Qualcomm's upcoming processor might make Google's Wear OS more competitive.
Qualcomm's upcoming processor might make Google's Wear OS more competitive.
Photo: Google

One of the reasons Apple Watch has no problems fending off competition running Google’s Wear OS is that they all use a two-year-old processor. Qualcomm is finally readying a new smartwatch chip for release this fall.

In addition, the next version of Watch OS will make greater use of Google Assistant, the company’s artificial intelligence powered system for voice control.

Live blog: Google I/O 2018 delivers the future of Android and more


Sundar Pichai at Google IO
What does Google have in store for us this year?
Photo: Google

Google I/O 2018 kicks off in less than an hour.

There’s loads to look forward to this year, including an update on Android P, and previews of what’s to come for Chrome, the Google Assistant, Android Auto, and more. The recently-rebranded Wear OS may also get some much-needed attention.

Google is live-streaming its big keynote, which kicks off at 10 a.m. Pacific. If you can’t tune in, follow our live blog below to stay up to date with everything that’s happening in Mountain View.