They’ve been rumoured for some time, but the launch of Google’s rumoured Android Wear watches has been confirmed in an interview by Jeff Chang, product manager of Android Wear at Google.
According to Mr Chang, the the flagship watches will not be part of the new ‘Pixel’ range, instead sticking more to the Nexus style of launch which saw Google launch devices with branding from other companies. The watches will be produced by a manufacturer who has previously made Android Wear watches.
In the interview with The Verge, Mr Chang confirmed the two watches would be introduced in Q1 next year in conjunction with the official launch of Android Wear 2.0. The watches will be used to show off the new features of Android Wear 2.0 before the update rolls out to a number of existing Android Wear watches.
Previous rumours have listed two devices – Angelfish and Swordfish – as being prepped for launch by Google. Angelfish is rumoured to be the more highly specced model with a 3-button layout, GPS and LTE connectivity, and a heart rate monitor. Swordfish will be the smaller, more elegant of the two with a single button layout and slimmer profile.
The Android Wear 2.0 update will bring a number of new features including Standalone Apps, as well as support for the Google Assistant and Android Pay , though Android Pay support will require additional hardware – namely NFC – to work, a piece of hardware many existing Android Wear watches do not have.
According to Mr Chang a fifth and final Android Wear 2.0 Developer preview will launch next month. The final Dev Preview will include Google Assistant, and Android Pay support which will work on Android and iOS devices. The only watch included in the Dev Preview with support for NFC is the LGE Watch Urbane 2nd Edition. One other notable Android Wear watch which includes NFC – the Sony Smartwatch 3 – is not included on the list of Android Wear Watches getting Android Wear 2.0:
- 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
According to Mr Chang, the stagnation of Smartwatch releases in 2016 will be re-invigorated by the launch of the new watches, and Android Wear 2.0 with new Android Wear watches expected to be announced at CES in January and the Baselworld trade show next year.
Google is apparently working towards releasing their own-branded watches to re-invigorate the smartwatch market, with Mr Chang saying that working with many partners on Android Wear is advantageous ‘We’ve enabled a lot of diversity with our hardware partners to target different types of consumers and preferences’.
There’s not a lot of time left before CES so we may see some further information on Android Wear 2.0, but if you’re waiting for a Google smartwatch you may just have to wait a little longer.