In Android Wear’s short life, it’s not only changed names to Wear OS, but feels like it has lacked a bit of direction from Google. With no new silicon to run smart wearables in recent years (we’re still stuck with Snapdragon Wear 2100), and little changes in the software side, it’s unsurprising that hardware innovation in the wearable space has stagnated a little bit too with only the fashion brands thankfully keeping the hardware alive.
A few weeks back we heard rumours that LG may be releasing a new hybrid Smartwatch running Google’s Wear OS alongside a set of mechanical hands. Today LG has had a “Portable Wrist Device” pass through the FCC – the LG-W315 – which for those familiar with LG’s Wear device product codes would make this a logical successor to their current line up.
The filling reveals very little, which could indicate the device contains very little, but most importantly it doesn’t hint at the mechanical hands. Of course, a mechanical mechanism doesn’t need FCC clearance (nor is it relevant to the filing) so that’s not really a confirmation neither way. We’re fairly sure it’s running Wear OS from the included screenshots of the regulatory / compliance information:
What we do know from the submissions is the W315 will feature Bluetooth 4.2 and WiFi 802.11 b/g/n. From a charging perspective it will come with a cradle, it’s unclear if it will be wireless charging but unlikely as previous wireless chargers have been specified in the FCC filing, and the cradle will have a USB C port to get power into it.
You’ll notice the absence of NFC which also should have been included in the filing if the new device includes NFC for payments etc. This is a massive disappointment if yet another Wear OS device is released and fails to include one of the platform’s new keystone features, and further speaks to the fact that Google seems to have no unified strategy to combine Wear OS with Google Pay in any meaningful way.
Rounding out the specs the new device will clock in with an overall diameter of 53.8mm and an inner diameter of 40.9mm (?? watch face size). The filing mentions the lithium polymer battery but no specifics on capacity. With Google I/O starting tomorrow is it possible that Google, or more likely LG, is gearing up to announce this to coincide with some Wear OS related announcement?
Overall I’m glad someone is still producing Wear OS devices out of the major electronic OEMs but I’m left wondering how long until there are a range of devices that support the major Wear OS platform features, eg. 3 button interface, digital crown, NFC and Assistant built in. You can get devices with some of these features but there has been no international launch of any device that has all of them.