Google confirms it will launch two smartwatches next year

Google has confirmed it will launch two flagship smartwatches next year, which will be the first to run Android 2.0.

In an interview with The Verge, Android Wear product manager Jeff Chang said the new watches would not have Google or Pixel branding, despite previous rumours of a Pixel smartwatch. Instead Google will be partnering with another manufacturer, but wouldn’t confirm which.

Earlier this year Google released its first flagship smartphone, but that too was built in partnership with HTC. While we’d also love to see HTC partner up for the watch, Chang confirmed Google was working with a company that had made Android Wear devices before, and that it would be akin to the Nexus partnerships of the past, meaning we’ll likely see its branding on the watches.

Huawei? LG? A surprise return from Motorola? There are certainly a few possibilities.

Chang also confirmed that once Google’s watches are out, some, but not all, existing Android Wear devices will get the long-awaited upgrade to Android Wear 2.0. Chang confirmed that although there will be some differences between Wear 2.0 on Android and iOS, Android Pay will work across both. Yes, Android Pay is finally coming to smartwatches.

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Earlier this year, Android Police published a rendering of what Google’s smartwatches. We were informed at the time that the images above “are not ‘interpretations’ but recreations of primary source material”, whatever that means.

Both smartwatches are of the round-faced variety although, praise be, there’s word that they won’t have the annoying flat tyre that blights the Moto 360 range and the Fossil Q Founder.

The Angelfish, said to be rocking both GPS and LTE connectivity, seems to be the real flagship of the two. The 43.5mm titanium-coloured smartwatch also supposedly has three buttons on board.

Android Wear has been predominantly a one-button affair up until now – although the Casio Smart Outdoor does have extra physical controls for firing up apps and the like.

It could be that the Angelfish watch uses the additional buttons for new Google Assistant features. The Android Police report stated that both smartwatches will have Google Assistant integration with contextual alerts. If this is true, we’d expect the feature to roll out across other Android Wear watches as well.

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Qualcomm’s Smart Wearables boss Pankaj Kedia recently told us how the chip giant was working with a number of companies to launch “connected” smartwatches that could operate without the need for a smartphone. It sounds as if the Angelfish could be one of the first arrivals.

Swordfish sounds like a more regular Android Wear affair – a 42mm diameter and a slim-ish 10.6mm thickness; with just one crown button on board. It’s not expected to offer GPS or cellular connectivity.

The Swordfish device plays nicely with Google’s new Mode strap setup but Angelfish doesn’t due to the design featuring lugs around the bezel.

Android Wear really needs these smartwatches to save the day.