Upcoming smartwatches 2016: What to expect from the next-gen wearables

Apple, Nixon, New Balance, Pebble, Blocks and more – smartwatches coming soon
Upcoming smartwatches for 2016

As 2016 draws to a close, most of the big names have shown their smartwatch hands. The Apple Watch Series 2 is upon us with its renewed focus on fitness, and we've seen Android Wear releases from Nixon, Casio and Polar.

Essential reading: The best smartwatches currently on sale

However, those looking to buy a smartwatch this Christmas may have their eyes drawn by the devices below. With the latest smartwatches from Samsung, Pebble, HTC and Blocks still missing from stores, we've updated our watchlist of MIA devices to help you make the right decision about your smartwatch purchase.

Here's the latest state of the smartwatch union.

Samsung Gear S3: ETA October/November

Most anticipated smartwatches release dates

We know everything about the Samsung Gear S3 thanks to its grand unveiling at IFA 2016. We know that the beefed up Gear S3 boasts a 1.3-inch screen with a 46mm body using its predecessor's 360 x 360 super AMOLED always-on screen. It's also packed with sensors, with GPS, altimeter, barometer and speedometer added to an optical heart rate sensor for beefed up sport creds. It comes in two flavours – Classic and Frontier – with an LTE version headed for Asia and the US. However, Samsung is still keeping us in the dark about a release date and global pricing.

Pebble Time 2: ETA November

Most anticipated smartwatches release dates

In the words of Pebble, the Time 2 is for the "active professional". Available in marine grade stainless steel, the Time 2 combines a silicone strap with a stainless steel buckle for a quick release mechanism making it easier to swap in other bands.

The Time 2 boasts an e-paper 228 x 200 1.5-inch display, covered in Corning Gorilla Glass 3. It has a built-in microphone for voice notes and replies, while Pebble has also said that Smartstraps will be supported. Heart rate monitoring is also on board.

The Time 2 runs on Pebble OS with the same ARM Cortex M7 processor found inside the first Time powering performance. There's no Wi-Fi or GPS, but it'll still work with both iPhones and Android devices. It costs $199.99.

Hands on: Pebble Time 2 review

Blocks: ETA December

One of the watches we most want to get our hands on is the Blocks modular smartwatch. It was set to start shipping in May 2016 to backers of its Kickstarter campaign but that date has now slipped a few months… sigh.

The core Blocks smartwatch module runs Android Marshmallow and features a 1.4-inch 400 x 400 AMOLED display. Qualcomm's low power Snapdragon Wear 2100 processor is on board and there's 4GB of memory plus 512MB of RAM, as well as Bluetooth 4.1 LE, Wi-Fi and sensors for activity tracking.

The extra Blocks modules are made from polycarbonate and their maximum dimensions are 25 x 31 x 8mm. It costs $330 with four modules of your choice. Extra modules are $35.

Hands-on: Blocks smartwatch review

Asus ZenWatch 3: ETA November

Most anticipated smartwatches release dates

Packing a 400 x 400 AMOLED screen into a 1.39-inch case adorned in rose gold, gunmetal and silver, Asus' latest smartwatch is a big play for the high end.

Essential reading:Asus ZenWatch 3 guide

Rocking Android Wear, the ZenWatch 3 will certainly catch the eye of those weighing up the Huawei Watch or latest Fossil smartwatches this Christmas, especially given its attractive $229 price tag. And it's set to go on sale this November.

HTC/Under Armour: ETA who knows?

Most anticipated smartwatches release dates

The HTC smartwatch rumours continue to rumble and the latest murmurs pointed towards an Android Wear device, dubbed the HTC One Watch, launching the end of June. But it looks as if that date has slipped… again. According to @evleaks, it was was originally going to launch in April.

The rumour mill is cooking up murmurs of an all-round display, as per the Huawei Watch, with a 360 x 360 resolution. Still, that's pretty much all we know, leaving this one a bit more of a mystery.

Xiaomi smartwatch: ETA US unknown

Most anticipated smartwatches release dates

Not quite the Android Wear-toting budget smartwatch of our dreams, the Amazfit Watch from Xiaomi and Huami runs its own custom OS, and works with Android devices running the Mii Fit app. At 799 Yuan – around $120 – you've got a cheaply-priced, fitness-focused smartwatch.

How do we know all this? Well unlike the other anticipated devices in this list, the Amazfit Watch is already out in China. There's no word of a US/UK launch, so fingers crossed that Xiaomi still has something bigger up its sleeve.

New Balance Android Wear: ETA December

Most anticipated smartwatches release dates

Sports giant New Balance used CES to announce that it will launch a running focused Android Wear smartwatch in 2016.

The as-yet unnamed device is set to boast GPS and built-in storage for smartphone-free music listening, and is being built in collaboration with Intel and Google, which will put it head-to-head with the new Moto 360 Sport.

It will be the first device created from NB's all-new Digital Sports, which is focused on "athlete focused digital ecosystems." The release was set for 'holidays 2016' so don't hold out on seeing this before December.

Additional words by Sophie Charara.

Let us know what smartwatch you are most excited about over on the Wareable Forum.

Shop for recommended smartwatches on Amazon

Samsung Gear S2
Samsung Gear S2
Garmin Vivoactive HR
Garmin Vivoactive HR
Sony SmartWatch 3
Sony SmartWatch 3
Huawei Watch
Huawei Watch

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  • WhyY says:

    where are the next gens!! I want a smartwatch and start to get impatient...

  • FoxHunter says:

    I prefer smartbands with notifications for texts, calls etc instead of smartwatches,  but the Kairos system with a traditional watch and smart strap/wristband is the way to go for watches. It will help keep costs low, for other makers. You can even have a system where people buy any ordinary watch like they normally do, and then buy after market straps for their traditional analog or digital watches that will have bluetooth and a screen to show texts and calls etc.  Smart watches like Apple Moto, etc are a dead end, too expensive and they don't really offer much in return.  Current wearable manufacturers don't know what people want.  People don't want Apple type smartphones or even fitness trackers, what people really just want is something to tell them if they have received texts or calls, and maybe a way to know who sent that text or call, and in the case of texts, you can even go so far as to be able to read some of it.  Big companies are pushing expensive smartwatches but in the end , it will be the smaller companies that will win.

    • Jamesd says:

      Agreed! ive had countless smart watches and they are amazing however.... they all fail when it comes to battery life.

      i've recently just sold my Gear S2 for a Garmin Vivosmart band and i instantly knew this was the right decision. I get a week of battery out of it and with its strong vibration i never miss a notification. It also displays the relevant info you would want see from a text, call, email and so on. Im not saying functionality wise the band is better than the Gear S2 because its not, but my phone is and when my band shows me something worth while then i'll get my phone out as opposed to managing the notification on my wrist. 

  • mosamjc says:

    I can't help but agree with you about the potential of smartbands against the current backdrop of the contemporary smartwatch, and I'm a Pebble user of over two years who's sold on the concept of the smartwatch. Sometimes you just want a watch that's a watch, but don't want to lose the "in the moment" feeling that a good smartwatch can give you so that you can leave your phone in your pocket or purse without interruption except for the most important notifications (the office, babysitter, home security alert). I think the potential for smartstraps could go beyond just call and message notifications though. Imagine if Fitbit or other fitness tracking firms embraced the idea to integrate their product into a classy watchband that you could add to your favorite time piece or even a smartwatch with more anemic abilities so that you don't have to double up or wear something on each wrist.

    • anonydispostabl says:

      Agreed. 2 year pebble user as well. Love pebble!

  • allben says:

    I like future watches so thanks teams

  • harveydeven says:

    I'm really curious about what LG is planning to launch, since the Watch Urbane was one of my favorites. Also, Sony can pull out a nice trick with the Wena model. I've made a list with some of the most expected smartwatches http://wearablearena.blogspot.com/2016/01/what-to-expect-from-2016-in-terms-of.html, if anybody is interested.

  • Manasse says:

    Sorry to disagree, but what is the need to have something which is only a reminder ? When I receive an email or a text, my phone either rings or vibrates, I don't need another wearable to tell me exactly the same information: pull out your phone you have messages !

    Instead, with a smartwatch, I no longer need to pull out my phone to read either text or emails, and that makes a big difference. When you're in a meeting, your phone can stay silent and you can glance at your watch to check and read your notifications/messages.


    • rawraj says:

      There are fitness trackers and smartbands that show allows you to read your text messages and even answer or reject calls. You can keep your phone in the car mount and you can answer calls through yourphone. Its difficult looking at your car mount but its easy looking at your watch. There is the huawei band 2and 3 that also acts as a bluetooth ear piece that lets you talk.

  • Rogger_Rabbit says:

    What they need to come out with is a smart watch that doesn't require for you to have your phone close by. Let's say your forgot your phone at home but it's okay because you have your smart watch on that can receive text and calls and you can send out texts and calls or even emails and for the hell of it even browse the web. 

    • chrismacg says:

      Samsung Gear S

  • adjuster11 says:

    I'm with Manuel on this one.  I've had the Huawei for less than a month, and it's super handy for checking texts, What's app, emails, all while never touching your phone.

    I carry the phone in a holster, yeah I know, old school, but I don't have to reach for it every time.

    You can read it while  you're driving, not recommend but you can and I'm talking with old eyes. Maps, etc needs some work on mine, but it does tell you turn left at Main, etc.

    I'm not a facebook, twitter person, but I can only imagine all those notifications piling in. You'd look like a Kardashian, with your phone in your hand 24 x7 with that many notifications.

    My watch does what I wanted it for, if only they'd light up the speaker, so I get the full Buck Rogers and talk to the watch, even if it's just, I'll call you back, but I can easily see the day when I talk to the watch while driving down the road.

    Since I'm on the road, I have a antenna booster, and my phone sits right on the antenna in the car, and it would be way handy to just talk to the watch rather than holler at the speakerphone. I work in the woods, the real woods with bears.

  • arrow1 says:

    None of those watches matches Samsung Gear S nor the new Chinese smart watch / anroid phone. No one came up with better idea !

    • xToddrick says:

      Except it's illogically round which hampers its functionality.

  • Guitar187 says:

    Whatever you do stay away from Olio.  The watch does not work anywhere close to how it's advertised, and the company is probably the worst run company I've ever seen.  They should really be prosecuted by the FTC.

  • No1UP says:

    very nice line up... But the Pebble time steel is still running circles around these. No touch screen was my only concern which melted away in about 30 seconds of using my peb.. :)

  • Shoaib344 says:

    that looks great watch 

  • ChrisCChan says:

    I didn't jump on the smartwatch bandwagon until recently, and then it was because I wanted a smartwatch that had the right sensors optimized for improving my health and fitness. I previously had a Fitbit Charge HR, but had too many quality issues with the first I bought and the two subsequent replacements. I gave up on Fitbit, and after a lot of research, I got the Garmin Fenix 3 HR. That was one of the best purchasing decisions I've ever made. 

    I use it to measure HRV and have the heart rate strap for running (an activity I hate but that's like eating your veggies- good for you in the right amounts). I currently use it for running and gym workouts, and I plan to use it for hiking and exploring (thanks to its GPS capabilities) and skiing in the future.

    To me, I get a lot of watch (and apps from the ConnectIQ store) for what I paid. I got it from REI too, so I have the support of its generous return policy if something should go wrong. Here's my quick take on it after a few days. I plan on updating it after a few weeks, when I have more data and time with it.

  • suryakumar1 says:

    Best smart watches next gen upcoming will be have the projection technology I Hope so.

  • LatestOnecom says:

    Having a Smartwatch makes your life so comfortable. In fact you can avoid unlocking your Mobile phone to check whether if there are any important messages or calls when you are busy attending a meeting wearing a Smartwatch. You will definitely love wearing  on your wrist and receiving notifications to your wrist really makes you feel super cool. What not you can listen to music, record, check call history & messages, monitor your sleep and take some lovely photographs using a Smartwatch.

  • Greg says:

    It seems like everyone is sleeping on the Olio Model One. They had a rocky start and some initial launch issues, but the issues are all in the past. I just picked one up and i'm loving it. Its the only smartwatch that actually has the build, materials, and look of an actua timepiece. The OS has a simplicity that compliments your phone rather than trying to replace it. The earlier and later streams work much better than Pebble's timeline. A couple of advertised functions are still in beta, but they likely should be released soon. If you're a professinal looking for a connected device that doesn't stick out like a sore thumb in the boardroom, Olio is the only way to go. 

    • drewvan1 says:

      Only it costs a fortune.

  • drewvan1 says:

    I don't care if I get apps and notifications on my wrist, I just want a nice looking watch that tracks steps, sleep, and heart rate. What looks most promising and can I get it soon?

  • maryklipyard says:

    Current wearable manufacturers don't know what people want. People don't want Apple type smartphones or even fitness trackers,It seems like every brand in the field is trying to release their own version of smart watches in a hope to capture the huge market sales and varieties of smartwatches are going to be released in 2016. Also take a look at the upcoming smartwatches in 2016.

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