Nearly a year ago, we saw our first glimpse of Android Wear 2.0, Google’s smartwatch operating platform. It’s now finally becoming a reality.
Originally scheduled for release alongside Android 7.0 Nougat in fall of 2016, Android Wear 2.0 was eventually delayed until “early 2017.“
Last month, Google confirmed the operating system would see a public release in February, and true to its word, Android Wear 2.0 will start rolling out on Feb. 10. Complete rollout will depend on the manufacturer of supported watches, with complete availability expected to take a few weeks.
Android Wear 2.0 includes standalone apps users can use without a phone nearby, relying instead on a direct Wi-Fi connection or LTE signal depending on the watch’s capabilities. A revamped interface throughout Android Wear 2.0 aims to make the watch easier to use and navigate, with support for a rotating digital crown similar to what’s found on the Apple Watch.
Also included is support for Android Pay on watches equipped with NFC capabilities, and watch faces gain complications, putting more information on a watchface at a glance. At launch, Android Pay will not work when paired with an iOS device. However, Google is working on adding the service as soon as possible.
Google Assistant will also play a key role in Android Wear 2.0, giving users a voice-activated assistant on his or her wrist to answer questions, send messages, start timers, and so on.
As Google has done in the past when releasing a major operating system update, the company teamed up with a company to create new devices. This time, Google and LG collaborated on two Android Wear watches.
The LG Watch Style and Sport will be available starting Feb. 10 at Best Buy and through Google’s online store. With the Sport supporting LTE connectivity, it will also be available at AT&T & Verizon Wireless retail locations.
The Watch Sport will retail for $349, while the Style is priced at $249. The difference in pricing is justified when you look at the specs of each watch.
|Watch Sport||Watch Style|
|Size||45.4 x 51.21 x 14.2mm||42.3 x 45.7 x 10.79mm|
|Processor||1.1GHz Snapdragon Wear 2100||1.1GHz Snapdragon Wear 2100|
|Display||1.38-inch full circle P-OLED (480 x 480 / 348ppi)||1.20-inch full circle P-OLED (360 x 360 / 299ppi)|
|Battery||430mAh with wireless charging||240mAh with wireless charging|
|Connectivity||Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, NFC||Wi-Fi, Bluetooth|
|Sensors||Accelerometer, gyroscope, PPG, barometer, ambient light sensor||Accelerometer, gyroscope, ambient light sensor|
|Color||Titanium, Dark Blue (Google Store exclusive)||Silver, Titanium, Rose Gold|
|Waterproof||Dust and water resistance (IP68)||Dust and water resistance (IP67)|
Both watches will feature a rotating dial for navigation. A dedicated button on the Watch Sport will launch Android Pay, with another button acting as a shortcut to Google Fit.
Google and its hardware partners have a lot of work ahead if they want to take on Apple and its smartwatch. The Apple Watch currently accounts for half of the smartwatch market — and over 80 percent of profit.
Below you will find Google’s list of Android Wear devices that will receive Android Wear 2.0 in the coming days and weeks:
- ASUS ZenWatch 2
- ASUS ZenWatch 3
- Casio Smart Outdoor Watch
- Casio PRO TREK Smart
- Fossil Q Founder
- Fossil Q Marshal
- Fossil Q Wander
- Huawei Watch
- LG Watch R
- LG Watch Urbane and 2nd Edition LTE
- Michael Kors Access Smartwatches
- Moto 360 2nd Gen
- Moto 360 for Women
- Moto 360 Sport
- New Balance RunIQ
- Nixon Mission
- Polar M600
- TAG Heuer Connected
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