As first revealed by VentureBeat’s Evan Blass, Google today launched Android Wear 2.0 and, along with LG, debuted the Watch Style for $249 (pictured above on the left) plus the Watch Sport for $349 (pictured above on the right). The 2.0 software update will be rolling out to all supported Android Wear watches — some 19 devices — in the coming weeks.
As for the new smartwatches, U.S. availability starts on February 10 for both: the LG Watch Style at Best Buy and the Google Store and the LG Watch Sport at AT&T, Verizon, and the Google Store. The duo will be available at carriers and retailers across Canada, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Taiwan, UAE, and U.K. in the coming weeks.
Android Wear 2.0
Android Wear 2.0 was revealed at Google’s I/O 2016 developer conference, where the company called it “the most significant update to Android Wear” since the platform launched over two years ago. The final release to users was originally slated for last fall, but was since pushed back until early 2017.
Google released five developer previews for Android Wear 2.0, adding features and making improvements along the way. Here’s a rundown of what’s in the final release:
- Watch faces: You can now personalize always-on watch faces with information and actions from your favorite apps (including your next appointment, stock performance, progress on fitness goals, and so on). A quick tap can order an Uber, start a workout, or get in touch with your significant other, while a swipe can switch your watch face to whichever one you find most appropriate.
- Working out: Google Fit now lets you track your pace, distance, calories burned, and heart rate (on some devices) as you’re walking, running, or cycling. You can also measure weight-lifting reps, in addition to push-ups, sit-ups, and squats. If your Android Wear watch has cellular connectivity, you can also get calls and messages, stream from Google Play Music, and use apps while working out.
- Standalone apps: You can download apps directly from the Google Play Store and if your watch has cellular connectivity, you can use them without your phone. This is true whether you have an Android phone or an iPhone.
- Messages: When you receive a message, you can expand the notification and tap to respond by dictating, typing, or handwriting your answer, or drawing an emoji. Facebook Messenger, Glide, Google Messenger, Hangouts, Telegram, and WhatsApp all support this functionality. Smart Reply, which suggests responses based on the message you received, is also built-in.
- Google Assistant: The Google Assistant is already available on the Google Home and some Android phones, but now it’s also available on your wrist in English and German (hold down the power button or say “OK Google”). Ask about the weather, set a reminder, make a restaurant reservation, navigate to work, or update your shopping list by simply querying the assistant. Other languages will be made available in the coming months.
Google says the following existing watches will be getting Android Wear 2.0: ASUS ZenWatch 2 & 3, Casio Smart Outdoor Watch, Casio Pro Trek Smart, Fossil Q Founder, Fossil Q Marshal, Fossil Q Wander, Huawei Watch, LG Watch R, LG Watch Urbane and 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, and TAG Heuer Connected.
The list will grow, but the focus will naturally be on new products. The first two watches to ship with Android Wear 2.0 are made by LG, designed in collaboration with Google.
LG Watch Style and LG Watch Sport
The LG Watch Style is thin and light, compatible with snap-and-swap 18mm leather and silicone bands out of the box. It has a rotating power button for scrolling through your stream, bringing up the app launcher, and accessing Google Assistant.
The LG Watch Sport is meanwhile “Android Wear’s most powerful watch yet,” Google promises. It supports NFC for payments, GPS for tracking exercise and navigation, a heart rate sensor for workouts, and cellular connectivity. It has dedicated buttons for Google Fit and Android Pay, as well as a rotating power button.
Last but not least, here are the specs for both Android Wear 2.0 devices:
|Watch Style||Watch Sport|
|Size||42.3 x 45.7 x 10.79mm||45.4 x 51.21 x 14.2mm|
|Materials||316L Stainless Steel||316L Stainless Steel|
|Strap||Italian Genuine Leather||Thermoplastic Polyurethane|
|P-OLED Display||1.20-inch, 360×360, 299ppi||1.38-inch, 480×480, 348ppi|
|CPU||1.1GHz Snapdragon Wear 2100||1.1GHz Snapdragon Wear 2100|
|Connectivity||Wi-Fi, Bluetooth||Wi-Fi, Bluetooth|
|Battery||240 mAh||340 mAh|
|Durability||Water and Dust IP67||Water and Dust IP68|
|Colors||Silver, Titanium, Rose Gold||Titanium, Dark Blue|
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