Google has been quiet on the wearables front recently, but that’s all about to change with two new flagship smartwatches confirmed for release in early 2017.
Teasing the upcoming launch, Jeff Chang, product manager of Android Wear at Google, confirmed the future watch plans in a recent interview.
But despite bearing flagship status, these watches won’t be made by Google.
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No pictures have been released of the two new watches yet, but multiple sources involved in the project have revealed the specifications of a sporty, feature packed device as well as a lighter, stylish wearable
WHAT IS ANDROID WEAR?
Android Wear is Google’s proprietary software designed to run on touchscreen wearable gadgets.
It’s an offshoot of Android OS, the world’s most popular smartphone software.
It uses gesture controls to let users swipe through on-screen apps and menu options.
Compatible with all recent Android phones, there’s also limited support for iPhone owners.
By contrast, the Apple Watch only works with Apple’s handsets.
Instead, they will be branded by the manufacturer that the firm has collaborated with on the new Android Wear powered devices.
Although this mystery manufacturer hasn’t been named, Chang confirmed the company had previously made Android Wear devices.
This lengthy list could include firms such as Samsung, Huawei, Motorola and LG, or traditional watch brands including Tag Heuer, Fossil and Michael Kors.
As well as new hardware, Chang, speaking with The Verge, confirmed the new watches would be the first to run the heavily updated Android Wear 2.0 operating system.
Revamping the software’s awkward user interface, the update will also introduce a number of new features.
These include Android Pay support, standalone apps that don’t require a phone to work, and the recently released voice-controlled Google Assistant.
Despite having been overtaken by Apple and its Apple Watch at the top of smartwatch sales charts, Chang says Google remains ‘quite optimistic’ about the future of smartwatches.
Unlike Apple, Google doesn’t make its own watches, instead partnering with third-party manufacturers and licensing out its software, a move it believes gives it the long-term edge.
Although this mystery manufacturer hasn’t been named, Chang confirmed the company had previously made Android Wear devices. This lengthy list could include tech firms such as Samsung, Huawei, Motorola and LG. Pictured is Motorola’s 360 2 smartwatch
‘We’ve enabled a lot of diversity with our hardware partners to target different types of consumers and preferences,’ Chang said.
‘This is a marathon, not a sprint.
‘This category of products is here with us to stay.’
Despite dodging manufacturing duties on the first Android Wear 2.0 watches, Google is no stranger to making its own gadgets.
Earlier this year, the company launched its first own-brand smartphone, the Google Pixel.
The new watches have been confirmed for release on an unspecified date in Q1 2017, a period that runs from January 1 to March 31.
With Mobile World Congress, the Barcelona-based mobile technology show, to run between February 27 and March 2, it’s likely the new devices will make their first official appearance around this time.
Once the new devices are released, Google has confirmed the Android Wear 2.0 update will be rolled out to a number of existing devices.