Smartwatches might have had a terrible 2016, but it looks like 2017 will see the launch of the Android Wear 2.0 platform, and February 9 is the date when the new platform will be unveiled. According to a tweet from Evan Blass, known as evleaks on Twitter, Google’s Android Wear 2.0 will be unveiled on February 9, and the first devices will be Google and LG’s Watch Sport and Watch Style.
It looks like Google has some serious plans to boost Android Wear 2.0, and in a more detailed report on VentureBeat, Blass says the two watches will start retailing the next day in the US, and will eventually be introduced to other markets over the coming months.
The idea that Google is working on its own exclusive range of smartwatches is not new, and was first reported in July last year. In an interaction with The Verge, Android Wear’s product manager Jeff Chang had confirmed plans that Google will launch new smartwatches in the first quarter of 2017, which will be running Android Wear 2.0.
Google has already confirmed which existing watches will be getting an upgrade to the Android Wear 2.0 platform. The list includes: 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 and Asus ZenWatch 3.
Another report in Android Police last year had also confirmed about the two Google branded Android Wear watches, which will feature LTE, GPS and a heart-rate sensor. The report said the larger device is code-named Angelfish, and will have a 43.5mm dial and will come matte dark finish “titanium” colour, while the smaller one is code-named Swordfish, and will feature a single button centered on the right side. Mockups of the two new LG watches were also leaked last year, and these will be iOS compatible as well.
Mark your calendar: Android Wear 2.0 launches on February 9th.
— Evan Blass (@evleaks) January 17, 2017
Google has already taken some time with Android Wear 2.0, and it won’t be surprising if wants to launch watches, where the focus is on the software and Google-bits, just like it has done with the Pixel smartphones. For now, it doesn’t look the watches will have a Google-only branding like the phones.
But overall 2016 hasn’t been a great year for Android Wear as a platform. It was reported last year that Lenovo was delaying the Motorola Moto 360 third edition and the company confirmed that wearables still don’t have the kind of pull to justify creating new products on a yearly basis. Plus it didn’t help that the smartwatch market saw a massive drop in sales numbers for 2016.
It will be interesting to see how Google pitches these new devices and whether they will end up boosting sales of smartwatches. With Android Wear 2.0, Google is promising a lot more capabilities, like in-app billing support, the capability of browsing the Play Store on the watch to install more apps, swipe to dismiss, seamless authentication and other features.