Smartwatches may not be getting the desired attention anymore, but Google hasn’t yet lost its hopes yet. In an interview with The Verge, Android Wear’s product manager Jeff Chang revealed that Google will launch two new smartwatches within the first quarter of 2017, both running Android Wear 2.0.
For several months speculation has been rife about a Pixel-branded smartwatch. Now, it seems the hardware will be built by a company that has made Android Wear smartwatches in the past, though Chang declined to name the partner.
Chang said Google is focusing on the hardware design and software integration for the forthcoming smartwatches. Looks like the new partnership will be on the lines of Google’s Nexus programme in which the devices are made under Google’s supervision, but made by someone else.
The two flagship smartwatches will be powered by Android Wear 2.0, so they will fully take the advantage of the new OS that Google has delayed until next year. Google plans to release a fifth and final developer preview of the OS next January. This version, will reportedly, bring support for two core features, Android Pay and Google Assistant.
Chang also confirmed that the new OS will be available as an update for all eligible smartwatches including: 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.
The good news is that after the launch of two flagship smartwatches, other companies will release new devices with Android Wear 2.0 throughout the entire year.
Chang told The Verge that Google remains “quite optimistic” about the future of smartwatches. “This is a marathon, not a sprint,” he said. “This category of product is here with us to stay.”
Throughout the year a number of manufacturers chose to launch fewer devices, and with Motorola saying that they won’t be coming with anymore smartwatches, it was enough to highlight the current status of wearables. However, Chang’s optimistic comments should give a boost to the Android smartwatch market.