Asus is talking about a successor to the ZenWatch even before the original even hits our shores. FocusTaiwan reports that chairman Jonney Shih opening up about Asus’ plans for the Zenwatch line going forward at an Asus party marking the launch of the first Zenwatch in Taiwan in late December.
The major claim everyone’s reporting is a desire for 7 day battery life, but Shih tied this desire to a claim that the OS and chipset need to be simplified in order to achieve the battery life outcome. Asus sees the Zenwatch as a companion device to a smartphone rather than a standalone device in and of itself, and thinks it shouldn’t need the chips it needs to do what it does.
They might have a point.
Most Android Wear watches run a SnapDragon 400, pretty much the guts of a mid-range Android phone. GSM Arena points out that both Qualcomm and MediaTek are looking to sell smartwatch-specific chips this year, but even with tailor-made silicon inside it’s hard to imagine a sevenfold increase in battery life for an Android Wear device.
Whether Asus plans to get this battery life increase whilst keeping the Android Wear foundation for its watch isn’t clear.
One of the biggest draws on battery life is the colour LCD screen, so it’s possible Asus intends to use an e-ink or some other kind of low power display in place of the large colour LCD. That doesn’t seem like it’d make for a good experience with Android Wear – at least, not in its current form. It sounds more like a fitness tracker than an actual smart watch to us, and that could be where the simplification lies.
Whether Asus is planning a divorce from Android Wear or a more diverse product line (perhaps something that can pair with both Android and iOS devices?), they’ve announced that they intend to make a followup to the original Zenwatch, currently pinned for a Q3 launch.
What would you sacrifice from your Android Wear device for extra battery life? Tell us in the comments!