Speaking to The Verge, Google's product manager for Android Wear Jeff Chang confirmed the company will launch two smartwatches next year with Android Wear 2.0. Five months ago, we revealed that Google was undertaking such a project, with the device codenames being Angelfish and Swordfish. Later, we showed renders of what the hardware could look like.
Chang also confirmed to The Verge that Wear 2.0's final developer preview will be released in January, and should add support for Android Pay and Google Assistant, two major features that have been high on the list of requests from Wear users. Interestingly, Chang says the watches will not be Google-branded, but branded by the manufacturer, who is apparently a previous Wear partner. That makes for a relatively short list - LG, Huawei, Samsung, Motorola, Fossil, ASUS, Casio, Sony, Nixon, Michael Kors, and Tag Heuer are all potential choices, but really, we can probably narrow that down. Most likely would seem to be either LG or Huawei - LG has long committed to the Wear platform, most recently with the Urbane LTE, and Huawei's Huawei Watch was probably the most well-received Android Wear device from a critical perspective to date.
Chang didn't reveal any details about the hardware itself, but our earlier rumors point to one, Angelfish, being a sort of "super watch" with a larger footprint, LTE, more buttons, GPS, and a heart-rate monitor. The LTE connectivity will allow it to be a truly "standalone" Wear device, something few manufacturers have offered at this point, aside from LG. The other watch, Swordfish, would be Wi-Fi enabled and have replaceable straps, presumably lacking LTE, GPS, and the heart-rate monitor. Given the Pay announcement, though, I would strongly assume both will have NFC at this point.
We believe Google initially planned for the watches to debut alongside or at least in close proximity to its Pixel smartphones, but that the delay of Android Wear 2.0, in particular, caused the launch to be pushed back. Evan Blass later rumored the Q1 2017 release.
Chang said they'll be out in Q1 2017, but no additional information about release, pricing, or availability was given. He also claimed that a number of partners would be launching new Wear devices at CES in a couple of weeks, and more yet at Baselworld next year.
- The Verge