Google To Unveil Two New 'Android Wear 2.0' Smartwatches In Early 2017

By Milton Letterman , Updated Dec 24, 2016 05:19 PM EST

Google will release a pair of new smartwatches during the first quarter of 2017. The smartwatches will be the first ones to carry the new Android Wear 2.0 platform.

Jeff Chang, Android Wear Product Manager at Google, said via an interview with The Verge that the new smartwatches won't carry any sort of Google-related branding such as Pixel. Instead, the smartwatches will carry the brand of the manufacturer, which he refused to disclose.

The unnamed manufacturer, which Chang said has made Android Wear smartwatches before, will collaborate with Google in both hardware and software aspects. Said partnership is comparable to the Google Nexus program, which has since produced a successful line of manufacturer-branded smartphones that carried flagship Android OS versions.

Once the flagship smartwatches become available to the market, Google will roll out Android Wear 2.0 updates for all compatible smartwatches. The new smartwatch OS includes a bevy of standalone (no smartphone needed) apps, Google Pay support, and Google Assistant compatibility with both the Pixel smartphones and Home voice-activated speaker.

Interestingly, Chang noted that the Android Wear 2.0 will work on both Android and iOS devices. That, of course, will include specific differences, though he didn't elaborate further on that. Google will release further details on the new platform once it releases its final developer preview in January.

Chang added that other partners will also release new smartwatches with Android Wear 2.0 once the flagship devices come out. Said move, according to him, will help Google ramp further support for the wearables market, which is currently waning in popularity according to Tech Crunch.

By far, Android Wear has fared poorly against rivals Apples and Samsung - the latter uses a different platform made compatible with its Android smartphones. Google, however, remain optimistic that it will eventually gain success in the wearables market. Watch The Verge's "First look at Android Wear 2.0" below:

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