Malarie Gokey/Digital Trends
While it was known a major revamp to Android Wear — version 2.0 — will debut early 2017, it was unclear whether Google would release its own hardware alongside it like it did with the Google Pixel. The official answer is not cut and dry, but the search giant confirmed it will launch two new smartwatches.
Jeff Chang, product manager of Android Wear at Google, confirmed to The Verge that two new smartwatches will debut in the first quarter of 2017 and they will be the first to launch with Android Wear 2.0. And in the fall of 2016, noted leaker Evan Blass and Android Police revealed the devices’ product names: Watch Sport and Watch Style.
A launch in February
Reporter Evan Blass wrote in January that the watches will be unveiled at an event on February 9. They will reportedly go on sale in the U.S. the next day on February 10 and roll out to other regions throughout the month and into March.
The watches are expected to receive prominent placement at LG’s booth at Mobile World Congress, which starts on February 27 in Barcelona, Spain.
Here is a re-creation of what the watches may look like:
Again, the image is an artist’s rendering based on the primary source material. There is always a strong chance the devices will look different when they are finally released. We cannot verify this information but with Chang’s confirmation, it seems more plausible. But take it with a grain of salt.
Angelfish resembles the Moto 360 and LG’s Urbane 2nd Edition LTE, and will be the larger of the two smartwatches. It contains a heart-rate monitor, GPS, and LTE radio — features that pair well with the upcoming Android Wear 2.0 update. It’s capable of placing and receiving phone calls with the same phone number as the user’s primary handset.
In terms of hardware, the Watch Sport is said to be the superior of the two. It features a 1.38-inch plastic OLED display that measures 480 x 480 pixels in resolution, 768MB of RAM, and a 430mAh battery. It also packs an NFC radio that will allow it to take advantage of Android Wear 2.0’s support for Android Pay contactless payments.
The Watch Sport features lugs with a “smooth housing shape that curves where the watch band meets the body,” which gives the device an appropriately sporty aesthetic. A touch-sensitive digital crown will serve as a navigation button and the watch’s capacitive display will boast handwriting recognition.
Angelfish is more than 14.2mm in cross-section, which Android Police guesses is due to a larger battery to accommodate LTE features. The diameter is 43.5mm, and it will come in titanium and dark blue.
Watch Style is smaller than the Watch Sport, won’t have the extra features of its big brother such as LTE or GPS, and likely doesn’t have a heart-rate monitor. Its design is reportedly more in tune with the Pebble Time Round, though without the large screen bezels — the part surrounding the watch face is still large but the shape is more “gentle and rounded” than the Pebble. The crown’s bezel is ridged, moreover, and the Watch Sport is noticeably thinner at 10.8mm. It will come in silver, titanium, and rose gold.
Generally speaking, the Watch Style is the less capable of the two watches. It sports a 1.2-inch screen lower in resolution (360 x 360 pixels), less RAM (512MB), and a smaller battery (240mAh) than the Watch Sport. Its exterior shielding is less effective at keeping out water and dust (IP67).
But the Watch Style shares the touch-sensitive dial and 4GB storage size common with the Watch Sport. One key point about both smartwatches is that they will tout Google Assistant integration with contextual alerts.
The Watch Sport will not support Google’s interchangeable Mode watch bands due to its design and lugs, but the Watch Style will be compatible. The Mountain View, California, company is also reportedly working on a “brand-new style of watch faces” for both of these smartwatches that will allow them to gain quicker access to notifications, media controls, and other functions for commonly used apps.
Android Wear 2.0
The major update is expected to roll out early in 2017 after the new smartwatches launch and will be available for the following Android Wear smartwatches: Asus ZenwWatch 2, Asus ZenWatch 3, Casio Smart Outdoor Watch, Moto 360 Gen. 2, Moto 360 Sport, Tag Heuer Connected, LG Watch Urbane 2nd Edition LTE, LG Watch Urbane, LG G Watch R, Polar M600, Fossil Q Wander, Fossil Q Marshal, Fossil Q Founder, Michael Kors Access Bradshaw Smartwatch, Michael Kors Access Dylan Smartwatch, Nixon Mission, Huawei Watch, and Huawei Watch Ladies.
The highlights of the update, other than a redesign of the interface, include stand-alone apps that do not require a phone, the Google Assistant, and support for Android Pay. Some existing watches do not have NFC support, so Android Pay will not work on those devices. New devices in 2017 will likely feature NFC, but it’s still not a requirement for Android Wear partners.
Android Wear 2.0 is currently in beta and users can expect the fifth and final Developer Preview to drop in January — this final preview before the official release will include Android Pay and the Assistant. Interestingly, the update will also bring support for iOS devices, meaning Android Pay will work on both Android and iOS.
More watches will be announced at the Baselworld 2017 trade show in Swizerland in March.
Updated on 01-17-2017 by Kyle Wiggers: Added leaked specifications and launch details.