Google will launch two flagship smartwatches with Android Wear 2.0 next year
In an exclusive interview with The Verge, Jeff Chang, product manager of Android Wear at Google, states that the company will launch two new flagship smartwatches in the first quarter of 2017. Furthermore, these two smartwatches will be the first devices to run Android Wear 2.0.
We learned of the existence of these two smartwatches earlier this year and even caught a glimpse of what the smartwatches could look like, but this is the first time we have official confirmation from Google. We now also have some additional information about the smartwatches thanks to Mr. Chang.
According to Mr. Chang, these new devices will not carry the Pixel branding, but will instead be OEM branded. What this tells us is that these two Google devices are going to made in close conjunction with their OEM partners, much like the now-defunct Nexus program. Mr. Chang reports that Google collaborated with the manufacturer on both the hardware design and software integration for the two smartwatches, and that their partners have had prior experience in making Android Wear smartwatches.
Android Wear 2.0 Release Timeline
After the release of these two smartwatches, Mr. Chang states that older Android Wear smartwatches will begin receiving their updates to Android Wear 2.0. As we’ve covered previously, the update to Android Wear 2.0 brings a plethora of changes including Google Assistant integration, a standalone app store, in-app billing, better two-factor authentication sign-in support, new gestures, and more. Although not every existing Android Wear smartwatch will be upgraded, most recent models are expected to make the cut. Mr. Chang states that although certain features such as Android Pay require NFC, the company will not make NFC a requirement to receive Android Wear 2.0.
Devices Expected to Receive Android Wear 2.0. Via The Verge.
- Moto 360 Gen 2
- Moto 360 Sport
- LG Watch Urbane 2nd Edition LTE
- LG Watch Urbane
- LG G Watch R
- Polar M600
- Casio Smart Outdoor Watch
- Nixon Mission
- Tag Heuer Connected
- Fossil Q Wander
- Fossil Q Marshal
- Fossil Q Founder
- Michael Kors Access Bradshaw Smartwatch
- Michael Kors Access Dylan Smartwatch
- Huawei Watch
- Huawei Watch Ladies
- Asus ZenWatch 2
- Asus ZenWatch 3
As we approach January, Google will release the fifth and final Android Wear 2.0 Developer Preview, which should include support for Android Pay and Google Assistant. In addition, the final Developer Preview will finally bring support for iOS, which has been confirmed to be compatible with the Android Pay feature.
In the future, Mr. Chang teases that several OEMs are planning on releasing their own Android Wear 2.0 devices, with some announcing them at CES next month. Given the news this year that the likes of Motorola, LG, and Huawei passed on releasing an upgraded model of their smartwatch, we may see some of these OEMs release a new smartwatch sporting Android Wear 2.0.
Source: The Verge