Google is taking hardware seriously lately, as it's now getting into wearables.
It's been long-rumoured that Google is developing its own smartwatches, mostly because several Android Wear manufacturers have decided not to move forward with new wrist-worn products anytime soon. Now, we're hearing news that Google is definitely planning to launch two Android Wear flagship smartwatches, and we can expect them to arrive soon. They won't be Pixel-branded devices, however, which is strange, especially considering that Google recently launched Pixel-branded flagship smartphones, which were made by HTC but completely designed by Google itself.
According to The Verge, which spoke to Jeff Chang, product manager of Android Wear, Google is planning to launch new watches that will be flagship Android Wear 2.0 devices. In other words, they'll be the first pieces of hardware to launch with the new platform, which we've explained in detail here. While the new watches had been rumoured before, Google has now confirmed them, and we can't help but think it's part of an effort to let people know that watches, including Android Wear watches, are still a thing. But these won't be Pixel-branded Google watches.
They'll be branded by the company that is manufacturing them, though Chang wouldn't confirm the company name. He did mention, however, that the company has produced Android Wear devices in the past. Change said Google is focusing on the hardware design and software integration for the upcoming watches, and he compared the partnership to Google’s Nexus smartphones made by LG, Huawei, and others in the past.
Keep in mind current Android Wear manufacturers include Moto, LG, Polar, Casio, Tag, Fossil, Michael Kors, Huawei, Asus, and others. Many of these manufacturers have also promised to upgrade their existing watches to the new Wear 2.0 platform launching in 2017. Google will release the fifth and final developer preview of Android Wear 2.0 in January. It will also work with iOS devices, but there will be differences.
Chang also confirmed that other Android Wear partners will release new devices with Android Wear 2.0 throughout 2017, and we should expect announcements for these devices at CES in a couple of weeks and the Baselworld trade show.