Before Android Wear 2.0 was delayed to early next year, rumors swirled that Google would make its own smartwatch. Now, in an interview with The Verge, the company has confirmed the two upcoming “flagship” devices, but revealed that they will not be solely Google-made hardware…
The two watches will serve as flagships for the next generation of Android Wear as the broader smartwatch industry is in decline. In the interview, Wear product manager Jeff Chang reiterated Google’s commitment to “[convincing] consumers that wearables — smartwatches specifically — are still in demand.” Specifically, Google will be working with OEMs to promote product launches and raise awareness about the category.
Contrary to earlier reports, the new watches will be branded by the manufacturer and not have Pixel branding. Instead the partnership is more akin to the Nexus program, with Google collaborating on design and software. Chang does not name the partners beyond that they have previously made devices.
Rumors suggest that one watch codenamed the “Swordfish” will be the smaller model at 42mm with only a single hardware button and support for MODE interchangeable bands. The screen will not have a flat-tire due to a small gap between the display and body.
Angelfish is the more advanced of the two with several hardware features to fully support Android Wear 2.0. LTE and GPS allow the watch to operate as a standalone device that does not require a phone. The significantly thicker watch also features a heart rate sensor and three hardware buttons.
The interview also notes there will be one more Android Wear 2.0 developer preview in January — it appears that the launch will not occur before then. Preview 5 will finally bring Google Assistant and Android Pay, with Google’s payment solution also working on iOS.
Although Moto is reportedly not releasing a device in time for launch, Chang notes that other partners will release devices throughout 2017 with announcements at CES and the Baselworld trade show in late March.