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smartwatches

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Smartwatches and other accessories face looming threat of new Chinese-import tariffs

The world of international commerce is a complicated one, and the particular path a product takes as it evolves from raw materials, to discrete components, to a final, assembled gadget can have a big impact on what it ends up costing. Right now, shoppers in the U.S. are concerned about what impact new tariffs on Chinese imports might have on all manner of consumer goods, from cars to portable electronics. Now some newly published rulings spell out exactly what what kinds of gadgets we may be about to see become slightly more expensive.

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Corning Gorilla Glass DX and Gorilla Glass DX+ want to make your next smartwatch tougher

 

Corning is primarily known as a manufacturer and supplier of hardened glass products for essentially every major smartphone brand in the world. But following yesterday’s introduction of the Gorilla Glass 6, billed as the company’s most durable cover glass yet, we’re now reminded Corning also designs market-leading glass composites for wearable devices. Your next smartwatch, be it a Wear OS or Tizen-powered product, is likely to use either Corning Gorilla Glass DX or Gorilla Glass DX+ protection. Since wearables are more often used in the great outdoors than smartphones, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the focus here is on display readability.

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Armani announces next generation Connected Wear OS smartwatch

If you don't entirely keep track of all the designer labels and their various smartwatch releases (like me), you may not have been aware of the Emporio Armani Connected Wear OS device. Well, now we know, and just in time to learn about the latest watch from the Italian fashion house.

The new generation Connected watch features a 1.19" AMOLED display and the same aging Snapdragon 2100 chip as the TicWatch Pro I recently reviewed. Like that device, the new Armani watch will use the Tic Health app and Mobvoi's app store in China, although it's made by Fossil Group.

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TicWatch Pro review: A good Wear watch at a bad time


Chinese firm Mobvoi — founded by ex-Googlers — has a history of making connected watches that stretches back to its original TicWatch and TicWatch 2 running the proprietary TicWear OS. Around this time last year, the TicWatch S and E were launched with Wear OS (then Android Wear) on board, and they were praised for their quality and excellent value proposition.

Now, Mobvoi is back with a premium Wear OS smartwatch, the TicWatch Pro. It offers better build quality and adds NFC, but the real star of the show is a transparent second display for more efficient always-on functionality with the promise of excellent battery life.

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TicWatch Pro now available - offers 5-30 days battery life, Wear OS, 'Layered Display' technology

It's been a while since there's been any excitement surrounding Wear OS, the artist formally known as Android Wear, with no notable recent hardware releases outside of expensive fashion products. The OS itself is feeling dated and has arguably never really been fit for purpose; the platform really needs some attention from Google if it's to escape a slow, boring death.

Peering through all the doom and gloom, however, Google-backed Mobvoi is launching a follow up to its well-received, affordable S and E smartwatches. Both the Sport and Express were sub-$200 models made from plastic and rubber, but the TicWatch Pro we first heard about in May is a different proposition.

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Google removes the Google Feed from Wear OS

Google has been slow to add new features to Android Wear Wear OS, but now it's taking features away? Users report that the Google Feed has vanished from their watches. So, if you want to glance at your suggested content, it's time to pull the phone out of your pocket.

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Google has been trying to fix a Wear OS phone call bug for more than six months

It almost goes without saying that Wear OS is not developing as fast as we had hoped. Let's say it anyway, though. Google has been slow to add new features and even had to roll some changes back in the developer preview. There's also at least one bug that has plagued users for months. Since late 2017, many users have been unable to route call audio through their watches. Even having the feature enabled breaks call audio. There might be some progress in the latest Android P preview, but many say things are still busted.

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[Update: Another LG watch appears] New LG Wear OS watch shows up at FCC

Documentation concerning a new Wear OS watch manufactured by LG has appeared on the Federal Communication Commission's website. The listing doesn't reveal a whole lot, but the watch is described as a "portable wrist device" with a model number of LM-W315. It's possible the filing is for LG's rumored "hybrid" watch that's said to feature both physical hands and an LCD display.

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Blu announces the $50 X Link smartwatch with 2G wireless connectivity

Blu is known for selling inexpensive phones that punch above their weight, but the company's new smartwatch seems like a very odd product. The X Link has a 1.1-inch round display, no apps, and 2G wireless connectivity. So, why would you want that? Well, it's only $50.

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Wear OS is in trouble, and only Google can save it

Android Wear seemed like the right product at the right time when Google announced it back in 2014. Smartwatches were just starting to take off with products like the Pebble awakening our latent desire for wrist computers. Meanwhile, Apple's long-rumored smartwatch was still unannounced. After four years, dozens of watches, and a name change, Wear OS is in a tough spot.

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