Last evening Google unwrapped the newest version of its wearables platform, Android Wear 2.0. Hidden deep inside the buzz and glitz of the official reveal of the LG Watch Style and LG Watch Sport was something about which other devices the latest update will be hitting.
According to Google, at least 19 smartwatches from 11 watch brands on the Android Wear platform will be receiving the update. These are:
- ASUS ZenWatch 2 & 3
- Casio Smart Outdoor Watch
- Casio PRO TREK Smart
- Fossil Q Founder
- Fossil Q Marshal
- Fossil Q Wander
- Huawei Watch
- LG G Watch R
- LG Watch Urbane & 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
Android Wear 2.0 allows users more personalization options on their device’s watch faces, allows them to be able to use their watches even when they are far away from their paired smartphones through cellular networks and lets users install their desired apps on the devices instead of relying entirely on connected smartphones. It also brings the ability to make payments using Android Pay and the power of Google’s virtual assistant, Assistant, to the wrist.
Notable Android Wear smartwatches like the first generation Moto 360 did not make the cut thanks to not just packing outdated specifications that couldn’t meet the demand and strains of the new operating system but also because they are already out of their guaranteed support windows.
The new LG Watch Sport is what Google refers to as “Android Wear’s most powerful watch yet”.
Many Android Wear watch makers may have held out on releasing new devices last year due to the impending release of version 2. Now that it is out, it is likely that we may see several new watches showing up in the market.
According to research firm Canalys, Apple had about 50% share of the smartphone market and took home 80% of the resulting profits in Q4 after shipping nearly 12 million watches last year. Samsung, which sells its own Tizen-powered smartwatches and which has never ruled out a return to the Android Wear fold, followed from a distant third place. Fitbit was second.