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article imageGoogle building its own smartwatches to get Android Wear moving

By James Walker     Jul 7, 2016 in Technology
Google is building its own pair of smartwatches to showcase Android Wear, according to a report with knowledge of the devices. A spate of recent rumours reveal Google wants to become a hardware company, building mobile devices in-house.
Google is said to be creating the two smartwatches, codenamed Angelfish and Swordfish, with the intention of increasing the visibility of Android Wear, its wearable platform. A "reliable source" informed Android Police of details of the two devices. They are likely to be branded under Google's Nexus range and launched after this year's Nexus "Marlin" and "Sailfish."
Both of the watches are said to use a circular design. Unlike other round smartwatches, notably Motorola's Moto 360, there is no angled "flat tyre" at the bottom of the display, allowing for a cleaner look.
Angelfish is the larger of the two. It has a "subdued but sporty" look incorporating smooth curves and visible watch lugs, drawing on the design of the Moto 360 and LG Urbane without directly copying either device.
Swordfish is described as resembling a Pebble Time Round with a smaller display bezel. It too has visible lugs and a rounded design. Swordfish has a single crown button on the right edge of the screen. Angelfish adds two smaller buttons above and below the crown.
Angelfish is the higher-end of the two devices and features more connectivity. It has GPS, LTE and a heart-rate monitor, allowing it to operate independently of a smartphone and satisfy people who intend to also use their smartwatch for fitness monitoring. Swordfish has no LTE or GPS, leaving it reliant on your phone for internet and location services. It is unlikely to have a heart rate monitor.
On the software side, the two smartwatches will run stock versions of Google's Android Wear. They may receive some exclusive features to differentiate them from third-party devices, including quicker access to notifications from watch faces and integration with Google Assistant for more precise contextual alerts. Details on this facility remain light.
Assuming this report is correct, Angelfish and Swordfish seemingly confirm Google's decision to become a mobile company in its own right. It has recently been revealed that it is working on creating its own smartphone free from Nexus branding. It already has Pixel hardware for tablets and laptops. Building a smartwatch will complete its portfolio of products and allow it to rival Apple, a company that has demonstrated the advantage of having its own hardware and software.
The two wearables could also stimulate growth in Android Wear as a whole. Smartwatch usage hasn't yet taken off with the majority of consumers and relatively few manufacturers have created Android Wear devices. The number of watches that support the most modern features like LTE is low and flagship devices are launched irregularly.
Following the original purpose of its Nexus-branded smartphones, Google could use Angelfish and Swordfish to demonstrate what Android Wear is capable of. It would also increase its appeal to consumers, allowing you to complement a new Nexus smartphone with a matching smartwatch. A strong part of the Apple Watch's appeal has been its marketing as an iPhone companion, a success Google may be hoping to replicate itself.
More about Google, Nexus, google nexus, smartwatches, wearables
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