Google building two Android Wear Smartwatches integrating Google Assistant

By |July 7th, 2016|PRODUCT RUMORS, Smart Watches, SMARTWATCHES|

Speaking to Android Police, a reliable source has told us that Google is currently building two Android Wear devices – possibly Nexus-branded – for release some time after the latest Nexus phones are announced. One watch will be larger, sportier, and more fully-featured (LTE, GPS, heart rate), the other will be smaller and lack the aforementioned mobile data and GPS.

This rumor a confidence level of 9 out of 10;We are extremely confident Google is in the process of prototyping these in-house Wear devices, and have confirmation of their existence from multiple sources. We are subtracting a point from our confidence because of the ongoing development occurring for these devices, and the possibility that they may change or that one or both may be cancelled (or delayed), as well as the fact that we are unable to share our primary source information for this post.

There also remains some ambiguity about the codenames I will use for these watches, and whether or not these names are currently being used, so consider them nothing more than easy ways to refer back to either device at this point.

The evidence

As I said, we are unable to share any direct evidence of the existence of these devices at this time. However, because of the quality of our source, we feel confident in publishing information about these devices, including descriptions of their respective appearances. To ensure we are clear on one thing before we start: the hero image of this post is 100% a fabrication [hopefully obviously, because my talentless ass made it] and has no resemblance to either watch. So, let’s get started.

Both watches have full circular displays. We do not believe either will have “flat tires.” Let’s start with the larger watch, which we believe to be codenamed Angelfish.

Angelfish bears some resemblance to the current Moto 360 and LG’s Urbane 2nd Edition LTE, but is distinct from both. The design has visible lugs, with a smooth housing shape that curves where the watch band meets the body. It does not have the stark circular “puck” shape of Motorola’s 360, nor the rather angular lugs or multi-piece design of the Urbane LTE. This gives the watch a subdued but sporty look. Angelfish has three buttons. Looking at the watch face, one large circular crown button is centered along the right side of the body, with two smaller and shorter circular buttons above and below it. It is unclear what these secondary buttons are for at this time, though you are free to imagine the possibilities.

Angelfish is quite thick, at over 14mm in cross-section (around the same as the Urbane LTE), likely owing to a larger battery necessitated by its LTE-ready chipset. The watch’s diameter is allegedly 43.5mm, making it substantially smaller than the “large” 46mm Moto 360, but still a bit bigger than the standard 42mm edition. We believe it will come in a matte dark gray finish that may be called “titanium,” but it’s unclear if other colors will be available. Angelfish will have GPS, LTE, and a heart-rate monitor, giving it the ability to be a true “standalone” Android Wear device. Remember,Google announced standalone Wear apps at I/O with with Wear 2.0.

The second, smaller watch is codenamedSwordfish. Speaking generally, Swordfish is reminiscent in basic shape to the Pebble Time Round, of course lacking the Round’s obviously massive screen bezel, and also using a different button arrangement. But the overall style of the body and especially the lug design are, in my opinion, quite similar. That said, because it doesn’t have the internal screen bezel, the portion of the body surrounding the watch face is larger, and the shape is more gentle and rounded than the Pebble.

Swordfish has a single button centered on the right-hand side of the body, with a more delicate and Apple Watch-like design. The center of the button cap appears to be polished metal, with the bezel of the crown being ridged. Aside from appearing more “raised” out of the body because of the watch’s circular shape, the button really is quite similar to the Apple Watch’s crown. Swordfish is smaller and thinner than Angelfish, with a body diameter of 42mm and a thickness of just 10.6mm – 0.8mm thinner than the current Moto 360. Granted, it still doesn’t have anything on the 7.5mm Pebble Time Round in this regard. Swordfish will allegedly be made available in three colors: silver, titanium, and rose gold. Swordfish lacks LTE or GPS, and it’s unclear if it has a heart rate monitor (we are leaning “no”).

It appears that, oddly, the larger Angelfish device will not support Google’s interchangeable MODE watch bands, because the design of the lugs and band won’t allow for it. Swordfish, on the other hand, will definitely be compatible with MODE bands.

Both watches will offer Google Assistant integration with contextual alerts. Exactly what that integration entails, we aren’t certain, but given Sundar Pichai’s comments about Nexus devices receiving more exclusive software features, we’re left wondering if these watches will get functionality other Android Wear devices won’t.

Google may also be working on a brand-new style of watch faces for these devices that will allowmuch quicker access to notifications, information, or media controls for apps or functions that you commonly use. This will likely be via the new app watchface integration announced as part of Wear 2.0. These quick-access functions would sit below the watch dial, presenting things like your current playback location in a song, the number of unread messages in Gmail, Hangouts unread counts, time in another time zone, the amount of time until your next calendar appointment, your number of steps, and more.