Google says it’s working on two new smartwatches set for release in early 2017


It seems Android Wear isn’t as dead as some might think.

In an interview with The Verge, Android Wear Product Manager Jeff Chang confirmed that the company plans to launch two smartwatches next year featuring the company’s upcoming Android Wear 2.0 operating system. Early this year news leaked indicating the tech giant is working on additional smartwatches, at the time codenamed Angelfish and Swordfish, though additional information was not available at the time.

Along with the existence of new smartwatches, it’s also now confirmed that Wear 2.0’s final developer preview will come out in January. The update will add support for Android Pay and Google Assistant, two often requested features from current Android Wear users. Chang revealed that the watches will not be Google-branded and instead will feature the branding of a partner manufacturer who has previously worked on an Android Wear project.

This makes the list of potential partners relatively short, with only one of the following companies falling into that category: LG, Huawei, Samsung, Motorola, Fossil, Asus, Casio, Sony, Nixon, Michael Kors and Tag Heuer. It’s more than likely Google is working with either LG or Huawei. Motorola, the manufacturer of the Moto 360, arguably the best Android Wear smartwatch, has revealed that it has no plans to release a new smartwatch, at least not any point in the near future.

In terms of actual detail, Chang didn’t reveal much about the upcoming Android Wear devices, though he does mention that the “Angelfish” version is a “super watch” with a larger footprint, LTE connectivity, additional buttons, GPS and a built-in heart rate monitor. The watch’s LTE connectivity allows it to be a “standalone” wearable. The Swordfish, however, is Wi-Fi-enabled and operates much like a standard Android Wear smartwatch.

It’s believed that Google initially planned to launch the watches alongside the release of its Pixel smartphones, but given the delay of Android Wear 2.0, the tech giant was forced to push the release back.

Chang stated that the two devices would be released in the first quarter of 2017, but revealed no additional information regarding a specific release date or pricing.

[source]The Verge[/source]