We usually report the availability of devices in different countries, so this might sound like small news. But the official arrival of the Moto 360 in China is definitely huge, at least for Google and perhaps for Chinese consumers as well. For the first time, Android Wear will have Chinese voice search and voice control. This also marks one of Google’s steps to take a piece of that market, something that it has been reported to be slowly doing through strategic partnerships with Chinese companies such as in this case.
The Chinese partner here is Mobvoi, who specializes in voice search and speech recognition in the Chinese language, something that Android Wear has been traditionally bad at. Interestingly, Mobvoi was actually founded by a former Google employee and actually targets wearables like Android Wear and even Google Glass, along with its own proprietary Ticwear OS.
The Moto 360 is probably not the first Android Wear device in China, given the country’s well-known manufacturing abilities, both in good and bad ways. But it is the first official one to have support for the spoken Chinese language. This is a small but significant first step for Google, who has been trying to make inroads in the Chinese market, partly by making concessions to its app market, and partly by striking up partnerships with Chinese companies.
One of those companies is believed to be Huawei, who is expected to announce a new Nexus smartphone, the first one to be made by a Chinese OEM, later this month. Google was also reported to have agreed to impose some level of censorship in Google Play Store content to comply with Chinese regulations, something that it has so far not done for any other market.
Whether these attempts will finally hand Google the keys to a market that is increasingly becoming a fertile ground for Apple remains to be seen.