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article imageGoogle building its own Android Wear smartwatches with LG

By James Walker     Jan 19, 2017 in Technology
Google is planning to launch its own smartwatches to coincide with the release of Android Wear 2.0. The company has partnered with LG to manufacture the devices, according to a report this week. They'll be launched in early February.
Google's intentions to create its own smartwatches were first revealed over six months ago. The company is developing two devices, one a flagship to highlight Android Wear 2.0's features and the other targeted more at the masses.
Both watches are still in development, noted leaker Evan Blass revealed in a VentureBeat article this week. Now formally named as the LG Watch Sport and LG Watch Style, Google will unveil the smartwatches on February 9. It's expected to launch Android Wear 2.0 on the same date after several delays.
The Sport is the high-end device, featuring a large 1.38-inch 480x480px resolution display. It has 768MB of RAM and 4GB of storage. There's support for Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS and NFC, all powered by a 430mAh battery. The watch has a 14.2-millimeter chassis and will be available in titanium and dark blue colours.
The Style is more customisable, featuring swappable straps and titanium, silver and rose gold colours. Its internals are markedly less powerful than the Sport though, comprising a 1.2-inch 360x360px display, a 240mAh battery and 512MB. GPS and NFC are left out of the package, leaving only Wi-Fi and Bluetooth as connectivity options.
Google has taken note of the Apple Watch's design, adding a digital crown button to simplify navigation. According to Blass, it's similar to the Apple Watch's crown, aiding scrolling through Android Wear's menus. There's also water and dust resistance on both models that makes them suitable for outdoor use.
Although the watches are distinctive, the star of the show may end up being Android Wear 2.0. After being delayed by several months, Google is almost ready to take the wraps off the all-new version of the platform. It's faster, simpler and capable of making phone calls, adding new features that make smartwatches more versatile.
Apps can be installed directly to watches, making them quicker to open and removing the dependency on a companion phone. There's an integrated onscreen keyboard, built-in messaging features, an improved notifications system and enhanced connectivity. It's a wide-reaching update that changes much of the platform, removing many limitations.
The hardware and software both have a challenge ahead of them though. Smartwatches aren't proving to be popular with the masses and some analysts have reported plummeting sales in recent months.
As other companies cancel upcoming launches indefinitely, Google may be one of a handful of brands to launch new devices this year. The Watch Sport and Watch Style need to convince consumers that smartwatches are worth the money while advertising Google's rebuilt wearables platform to the world.
More about Google, Lg, smartwatches, android wear, Android
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