Google To Launch Two Flagship Smartwatches, Find Out When!
Google will indeed launch two flagship Android Wear smartwatches in the first quarter of 2017, as reported by The Verge. The announcement was made by Jeff Chang, product manager of Android Wear, in an interview hosted by the Source.
As explained by Chang, the smartwatches will not be branded as Pixel watches, but rather be branded by yet unnamed manufacturer. Much like Nexus, though, these watches will be Google's vision for Android Wear, complete with support for Android Pay and Google Assistant, according to The Verge.
While no names were dropped as to who is making these watches, Chang did mention that this company has made Android Wear devices in the past, according to Droid Life.
Chang says that Google's strategy of working with many partners on Android Wear devices is advantageous. "We've enabled a lot of diversity with our hardware partners to target different types of consumers and preferences," he says, before noting that Google is "quite optimistic" about the prospects of smartwatches. "This is a marathon, not a sprint. This category of product is here with us to stay."
When devices are launched, the Android Wear 2.0 update will be released to all other supported devices, with the final Developer Preview scheduled to launch in January, 2017. It is expected to include support for both Google Assistant and Android Pay (on supported devices) in it. It will also work with iOS devices. There will be differences between Wear 2.0 on Android and iOS, Android Pay will work on both platforms, as Chang confirmed.
Rumored Android Wear devices from Google have long been reported since July 2016. According to Fast Company, the smartwatch market declined 51.6% year-over-year in Q3 2016 based on an October 24 IDC report. Two known Android Wear smartwatch manufacturers, LG and Motorola, announced that they have no plans yet to launch an Android 2.0 smartwatch in 2017, with Moto citing lack of "broad consumer interest."
For some other manufacturers, Samsung had announced its Gear S3 smartwatch last September and the product still has not been on sale. Meanwile, Pebble finally collapsed due to its massive debt, and was forced to sell out to Fitbit.