Google Confirms Upcoming Launch Of Flagship Android Wear Watches

Google is all set to launch two new flagship Android Watches in the first quarter of 2017 to match the launch of Android Wear 2.0. These watches will not, however, bear the brand Pixel or Nexus, as Google’s other hardware ventures have but in fact will bear the names of the company that is manufacturing them.

The manufacturers are currently unnamed, however, Google has said that they are not new to making smartwatches and have released popular models in the past as well. There was an expectation that Google might take the ‘Pixel’ route and compete a direct competitor to the Apple Watch and Samsung’s offerings, however, doing so would have effectively killed Android Wear’s smaller partners who are struggling to get this category going.

This effort by Google is part of a bigger effort to gain some traction in the smartwatch category where it seems to have ceded ground to Samsung and Apple. Google has the advantage of working with a large number of manufacturers and so having a higher volume of watches in the marketplace but consumers have so far failed to really get behind any one of them in significant numbers.

The biggest player in the smartwatch space is undoubtedly Apple, although, exact numbers about the sales of the Apple Watch have not been made available.

It is, however, exciting that Google executives likened the upcoming smartwatch launch akin to the Nexus program where Google worked closely with device manufacturers so that they could get on the same page as to the direction Google wants to head in.

Android 2.0 will come with support for Android Pay as well as access the Google Assistant. While most of the existing Android Wear smartwatches will get Android 2.0, certain hardware restrictions will mean that not every watch will be able to upgrade to the latest platform.

Google has struggled to make Android Wear attractive to developers because of the low number users. The fact that its most successful Android partner, Samsung, has decided to use its own Tizen platform for smartwatches also means that the market is fragmented even more than earlier.

With Android 2.0 though Google is bringing standalone apps that will not require tethering to a smartphone to function and better support for iOS devices. Google executives do not seem too worried about the lack of success in this category and believe that smartwatches are still a very nascent product that will see a lot of growth in the coming years.

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