Android and Mobvoi have formed a ‘strategic partnership‘ to bring Android Wear to mainland China for the first time. This news comes days after revelations that Google is working to bring a tweaked version of Android and the Google Play Store to China. Negotiations have been difficult, and require compromises from Google, but with Android Wear officially landing, it signals the beginning of a much bigger focus on China than has been possible in recent years…
Moto 360 will launch in China tonight and will be the first Android Wear device to launch with Chinese voice search and voice controls. These voice control functions and services are provided by Mobvoi, a Chinese company that specializes in voice-activated search. Up until now, voice and search features have been incredibly limited on Android products due to the constant distrust the Chinese government holds against Google. Mobvoi has also partnered with a number of China-based companies to offer localized data and services on the watch.
Mobvoi was — interestingly — founded by a former Google chief and exists to bring advanced Chinese voice control to devices like Google Glass, on other wearables on its own self-made operating system dubbed Ticwear OS. It’ll be interesting to see if this same partnership will be used if (or when) the Huawei Nexus launches a little later this year. It had been rumored previously that Google was seeking to use Huawei’s influence in China to get its services more widely accepted within China’s borders. With Mobvoi onboard, Google could build the company’s voice services in to its next large Nexus smartphone.
Motorola’s latest smartwatch was just unveiled at a press event in Berlin last week. The new wearable has a similar round face and metal case to its predecessor, but does have a few important changes. There are now hundreds of case and strap combinations available, including a smaller 42mm watch and a women’s range. The larger models have a 1.56-inch 360×330 screen, while the smaller models are 1.37-inch 360 x 325 displays. All are powered by an impressive Snapdragon 400 quad-core processor, and have 400mAh (large) and 300mAh (small) capacity batteries and wireless charging. Whether or not the impressive spec list and Mobvoi’s partnership will mean success in the Chinese market is yet to be seen.