Google reveals two new smartwatches for 2017: will they revive a dying trend?

google io keynote 2016 android wear 7
© Google

Google has confirmed that they will be dropping two new Android smartwatches in the first quarter of 2017. In an interview with The Verge, product manager Jeff Chang of Android Wear for Google gave an official statement saying they want to revamp the market and people’s interest in wearables this year by launching two new smartwatches running Android Wear 2.0 - though not with the name Google or Pixel on board. What are these mysterious devices?

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In the interview, Chang said that Google was undertaking a similar project with the smartwatches as they did with the Nexus phones, meaning the company collaborated with other manufacturers in creating new devices that would run their latest software. In fact, these two new smartwatches will be the very first wearables to pack Android Wear 2.0, which has been slated to roll out to other third-party manufacturers' smartwatches throughout 2017. The list of devices which can expect the update was also confirmed by Chang.

The most important aspect of Android Wear 2.0 is that it will allow the smartwatch to be used as a standalone device, meaning not always in conjunction with a smartwatch. The Android Wear update will allow you to make calls and use OK Google for example, and it will incorporate Google Assistant and Google Pay. 

google android wear 2 0 material design notifications
Android Wear 2.0 will overhaul the entire look of Material Design. / © Google

This, Google hopes, will encourage more people to go out and buy a smartwatch, seeing as their usefulness will have increased significantly due to the update. On the other hand, we recently reported that smartwatches are dead, with sales dropping consistently across the manufacturer board. Could the release of these smartphones, in addition to the new software version, increase their popularity?

Do you think that Google's new smartwatches will be able to wow potential buyers? Or are smartwatches a lost cause?

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  • ljhaye Dec 24, 2016 Link to comment

    Smartwatches running Android Wear are a dying trend as decreed by Android OEM's. Many Android phone users are buying Tizen smartwatches from Samsung. Apple Watch is literally everywhere and quickly becoming a status symbol depending on your choice of band and materials. Fitbit just bought pebble OS and will have an improved smartwatch for next year.

    The android community wasn't impressed by the selection of Android smartwatches and many of the OEM's were frustrated by the restrictions on the platform. Google knew from 2014 that without Samsung being their torchbearer they had no one with the hardware chops to entice the broader Android audience. Watches are Veblen goods and none of the other Android OEM's produce devices that the public would see as such. Android wear despiste coming out in 2014 has always felt like a rushed product. As evidenced by the Moto 360 "flat tire" design and Android wear being designed for a square screen interface not a circular one.

    Google is trying to inject energy into the platform and prevent alternative OS' from gaining traction. For example Google bought chronologic OS because they were releasing an Amazon Alexa powered phone OS that was being picked up by various third party OEM's (blocks).

  • TJ R. Dec 23, 2016 Link to comment

    $99 - 2 day battery life - thin and light - works with iOS and Android and Chrome OS - responsive - Android pay - fitness model could cost more with HR and GPS (leave it out of the standard model). Google play music streaming over WiFi for the gym, etc. Gotta find a sweet spot on the price to entice folks and cross compatibility.

    • ljhaye Dec 24, 2016 Link to comment

      I disagree with the price if you're going to include GPS, battery life, and other features you have to pay for it. A comprehensive smart watch should cost at least $300 to $400 for all of those features. At $99.00 you'll get a product that isn't fulfilling and that the OEM's can't make money on.

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