While the Apple Watch may dominate the smartwatch space (in terms of sales figures), that hasn’t stopped competing tech companies from throwing their hat into the ring.
Take Google, for example. The tech company has already released its own smartwatch-focused operating system, Wear OS. Previously known as Wear OS by Android and Android Wear, the Android-based operating system was initially released back in March of 2014 and has gone through numerous revisions since. The latest release, version 2.10, dropped back in mid-March, and a developer preview build is already available for version 3.0.
Google, unlike Apple, has not yet manufactured their own line of smartwatches, opting instead to form partnerships with third parties. To date, companies including Asus, Casio, Fossil, LG, and Sony have developed their own smartwatch hardware, with Google’s Wear OS serving as the software backbone.
That might be all set to change, however, as rumors have been circulating about a revamp to the Wear OS line of watches. As reported by CNET, at least one new product is set to arrive this fall, with some reports indicating three. Here’s everything we know so far:
The manufacturer – Unlike previous OS Wear devices, it seems like Google might be manufacturing its own watch this time around. While this might have seemed far-fetched years ago, Google has since manufactured its own suite of products, including Google Home, Google Pixel Buds, Daydream View VR headsets, and most notably, the Google Pixel and Pixel 2 smartphones.
New hardware – Chipset manufacturer Qualcomm has confirmed that it is designing a new mobile/wearable chipset alongside Google, which will be used to power a new generation of smartwatches. Speaking to CNET, Qualcomm’s senior director of Smart Wearables, Pankaj Kedia, stated:
“Our focus is, how do we significantly enhance user experiences, how Google Assistant works and how it presents itself. More visually appealing, but less power.”
Wear OS will be focusing on providing users with better battery life. Kedia also chimed in on various power modes and settings.
“Today, you have different modes: interactive mode, then the ambient mode and low battery. Of course the new architecture will enhance all of the above.”
Pocket assistant – Unsurprisingly, both Qualcomm and Google have mentioned that Google Assistant will be a prominent feature in the next iteration of watches. It’s also been hinted that fitness tracking and coaching will be present. With devices such as the Fitbit gaining popularity, this doesn’t seem entirely far-fetched.
While there is no set release date for a new iteration of Wear OS watches, an October release wouldn’t be out of the question, especially since the Google Pixel 3 is likely to come out then (both the Pixel and Pixel 2 released in October 2016 and 2017, respectively).