One week after news emerged that Google is working on its own smartphone hardware to compete with the likes of Apple’s iPhone, a separate report this week claims the company is also set to enter the wearable market with a pair of Google-branded smartwatches.
As with its Android mobile operations, the company has traditionally focused on developing its Android Wear OS while relying on third-party manufacturers to come up with the hardware.
However, on Wednesday Android Police cited “reliable” sources with knowledge of Google’s wearable hardware project, which is said to involve two smartwatches codenamed “Angelfish” and “Swordfish”, both with circular displays.
The Angelfish model will reportedly bear similarities to the Motorola Moto 360, with a design that features visible lugs and a housing that curves at the point where the wristband meets the device’s body. A 43.5mm diameter accommodates a larger battery and LTE chip that will let the watch connect to cellular networks.
A large circular button at the center of the watch’s right side and a pair of smaller circular buttons above and below it will provide physical interaction. While there’s no information on what functions the buttons offer, the device is said to feature GPS and a heart-rate monitor, which in addition to LTE capabilities, will make it a true standalone device.
The second, smaller Swordfish model is said to resemble a Pebble Time Round watch, sans the large screen bezel, offering a more rounded look. A single button at the center of its right side will function similarly to the Apple Watch’s Digital Crown, but the device won’t have GPS or heart-rate monitoring capabilities.
Both devices will have Google Assistant integration and support contextual notifications, with the potential of other unique features not found on third-party watches running Android Wear OS. No information on price points was offered for the devices, while Google declined to comment.
Unlike the company’s phones which are said to be coming this year, it’s not clear when Google plans to release the watches, although they could potentially appear alongside Google’s next range of Nexus smartphones slated for 2016, or with the launch of Android Wear 2.0 this fall.
Apple meanwhile is said to be launching a second-generation Apple Watch later this year, possibly in the fall, putting it on the same upgrade cycle as the iPhone.
For the Apple Watch 2, Apple is said to be working on implementing cellular network connectivity and a faster processor. Built-in cellular capabilities would allow the Apple Watch to place calls, send messages, and access data without the need for an iPhone, while a faster processor would result in speed improvements when accessing apps.
watchOS 3, also debuting this fall, brings a dedicated Breathe app, instant-open apps, a new dock housing favorite apps, a new Control Center, and more.
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