It’s going to be a busy fall this year for Google. In addition to releasing two Nexus devices and the latest version of Android, now known as Nougat — not to mention the developer kit of the first Project Ara modular phone, Google Home, and another Google-built phone — the search giant may also be working on two Android Wear smartwatches.
The latest rumors about the devices give us an idea of when they’ll finally be released. According to well-known leaker Evan Blass, the two devices will be released at some point in the first quarter of 2017, and will feature the new Android Wear 2.0, which has coincidentally also been pushed to 2017.
Previously we received reports from Android Police, but this time it was a rendered image of what the smartwatches may look like. The Android news site attributed the leaked information to a “reliable source” which it did not identify. You know what that means — take this information with a salty dose of skepticism, as nothing can be confirmed until Google’s official announcement. Here’s a look:
Again, the image is a recreation of what Android Police believes the smartwatches will look like, based on the actual primary source material. It’s highly likely that the devices will look different when they’re finally released.
The two smartwatches are code-named Angelfish, left, and Swordfish, right. This does follow the theme of Google devices being code-named after species of fish. The upcoming Nexus devices, for example, are code-named Marlin and Sailfish. The names are surrounded with ambiguity, according to Android Police, which means Google could be using a completely different name altogether. Either way, we’ll stick with the information available so as not to be confusing.
Angelfish resembles the Moto 360 and LG’s Urbane 2nd Edition LTE, and will be the larger of the two smartwatches — it’s larger because it’s meant to be the sport variant that contains a heart-rate monitor and GPS. It’s also equipped for LTE connection. These features pair well with Google’s upcoming Android Wear 2.0 update that will make its smartwatches stand-alone, meaning they won’t have to rely on a connection with a smartphone.
It features lugs with a “smooth housing shape that curves where the watch band meets the body,” which gives the device a sporty aesthetic. A unique trait of this watch, though, is that it will have three buttons. Similar to the Casio WSD-F10, the buttons are on the right side of the watch, with the crown button being the biggest, and the other two shorter and circular buttons sitting above and below. It’s unclear what functions these extra buttons will trigger.
Angelfish is more than 14mm 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 a matte dark gray color, but it’s not clear if that’s the only color that will be available.
Swordfish is smaller than Angelfish, and won’t have the extra features of its big brother such as LTE or GPS, and it likely doesn’t have a heart-rate monitor. Its design is 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.
“But the overall style of the body and especially the lug design are, in my opinion, quite similar,” Android Police’s David Ruddock says.
Unlike Angelfish, Swordfish only has one button like most Android Wear smartwatches. It’s said to resemble the button on the Apple Watch, with the center of the button cap to be polished metal. The crown’s bezel is ridged. The smartwatch is also noticeably thinner at 10.6mm, and the diameter is 42mm. It will come in silver, titanium, and rose gold.
One of the key points about both smartwatches is that they will tout Google Assistant integration with contextual alerts. Google Assistant is the company’s new artificially intelligent assistant, which is set to debut first in Google Home and Allo, a messaging app scheduled for release this summer. We don’t know if this is a feature specific to these watches, or if it will be bundled into Android Wear 2.0.
It’s also unclear if these watches will be branded under the Nexus line, but if Google is manufacturing them, that is unlikely because Nexus devices always feature a collaboration between the search giant and a specific partnered manufacturer. CEO Sundar Pichai did mention that this year’s Nexus devices would feature more proprietary software from Google, and the company would have more input on the design. That could mean the company wants to turn the Nexus line into its own Google brand, and the smartwatches could be the first step.
Angelfish will not support Google’s interchangeable Mode watch bands due to its design and lugs, but Swordfish 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. This part sounds awfully similar to what Google unveiled in Android Wear 2.0, and its streamlined navigation pattern, so it could be what Android Police is referencing.
Google tells Digital Trends it does not comment on rumors and speculation.
Updated on 10-13-2016 by Christian de Looper: Added news that the watches will reportedly be released in the first quarter of 2017.