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Google confirms two flagship Android Wear watches for early 2017

LG Watch Urbane-21

Google has confirmed that it will launch two flagship smartwatches in the first quarter of 2017. They will be the first wearables powered by Android Wear 2.0, and they will be built by a third-party manufacturer that has released Wear watches in the past.

Unlike Google’s new smartphones, the watches won’t have Google or Pixel branding, according to Jeff Chang, product manager of Android Wear at Google. Instead, they will be branded by the manufacturer behind them — but Chang won’t confirm who that is yet.

In an interview with The Verge, Chang added that the new watches are part of “a larger effort to convince consumers that wearables — smartwatches specifically — are still in demand.” He also promised that other manufacturers are working on new Wear devices for 2017.

After Google’s new wearables have arrived, Android Wear 2.0 will rollout to existing smartwatches. Not every Wear watch will get the update, but Google says the most recent ones will. Some features, like Android Pay, will require certain hardware.

In addition to Android Pay, Wear 2.0 will bring standalone apps that you’ll be able to use without a connected smartphone, and Google’s new voice-controlled Assistant. It will also support iPhone, and Android Pay will work with iOS, too.

Chang said Google is still “quite optimistic” about smartwatches. “This is a marathon, not a sprint. This category of product is here with us to stay.”

The Verge

Killian Bell

Killian Bell is a 20-something technology journalist based in a tiny town in England. He has an obsession with that little company in Cupertino...

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