#Trending: Google wants 2017 to be the year of Android Wear

It's been gaining momentum since January
#Trending: Android Wear's year

I've got a new part time job: Baselworld hype girl. As you'll remember from last week's #Trending, I talked about how anyone feeling blue about the almost complete lack of wearables at MWC should console themselves with teasers for the watch and jewellery show in Basel. Now it's just two weeks away!

In case you're not already all amped up at the prospect of new smartwatches, check out our Baselworld preview, which we'll keep updating.

The bigger story, though, is that nearly everything we're expecting launch-wise is in the form of new Android Wear watches. I mean, sure Swatch is building its own Swiss OS, but most watchmakers are content to let Google handle the tech side of things.

Funny, then, that a mere 90 days ago, we ran an op-ed saying that Google doesn't care about Android Wear. Hands up, we spoke too soon. Instead it seems that a lot has been going on behind the scenes over the past 6 - 12 months.

Since the start of 2017, we've been on a see-saw of Android Wear launches and teasers that's just as quietly thrilling as that sounds.

So Google's trying to make a splash?

Seems so. It started when the New Balance RunIQ got its re-launch after a year of waiting - we're testing that watch at the moment.

The New Balance together with the second gen Casio and the light-on-details tease of a Swarovski Android Wear watch for women kicked off a steady stream of announcements that seems to be putting Android Wear back on track.

Like what?

Well, the biggest deal of the year so far is actually the roll out of Android Wear 2.0 to existing watches, which came the same week as the two new LGs - the Watch Sport and Watch Style.

Then came the news that Tag's second go at smartwatches will be coming at Baselworld - the Tag Connected Modular, that is. Fossil reminded us it's planning to launch 300 wearables this year.

And at MWC we got the three new models of the Huawei Watch 2 - it got a lot of attention at an otherwise quiet show but whether that is deserved remains to be seen, we're testing the Huawei right now too.

#Trending: Google has been building Android Wear momentum since the start of 2017

What's the latest?

I'm getting to that. This week Movado Group put out the news that Hugo Boss, Tommy Hilfiger and Movado will be bringing Android Wear watches to Basel. That's a big deal as Movado has stuck to stylish hybrid smartwatches so far - obviously Wear 2.0, standalone Android Pay etc was enough to encourage this new push.

Sounds like Google is Hugo Bossin' its partnerships

You said it. It looks like it has succeeded in becoming well, the Android of wearables, the go-to OS for companies wanting to build a smartwatch. As we've previously mentioned, Google's VP of engineering David Singleton told us that Android Wear watch sales are much higher than is generally estimated too. That stands them in good stead with a new slate of more useful than ever, designer watches.

Is it going for Apple Watch sales?

Not necessarily, it's not ten million a year or go home. Then again, Apple has brand loyalty, sure, but so do the designers and labels Google is shacking up with. In terms of style, I'm particularly interested to see what Swarovski et al do for women - Movado Connect will have five men's watch styles but nothing for the ladies.

What about sports?

The likes of Casio, New Balance and Huawei on the sportier side have the might of the Garmin range, the underdog does good TomTom and the upcoming Fitbit smartwatch to compete with. It's all getting rather crowded.

Has it all been rosy?

Not so. Some have pointed to the fact that the Michael Kors Access watches, one of which is aimed at women, have disappeared from the Google Play Store as cause for concern. I'd bet most Michael Kors smartwatches are sold via Fossil and MK stores though, not to Google geeks browsing online.

Plus it's likely we'll see a new watch from the designer at Baselworld as part of Fossil's showcase as it's been a year since the first Access was launched. I swear I'm not on commission. But it really will be an Android Wear fest this year. Get ready.


Shop for recommended Android Wear watches on Amazon

Huawei Watch 2
Huawei Watch 2
£269.99
Asus ZenWatch 3
Asus ZenWatch 3
£249.99
Polar M600
Polar M600
£233.35
Casio Pro Trek Smart
Casio Pro Trek Smart
£476.73

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2 Comments

  • kenjamin says:

    What's the watch pictured between "Like what?" & "What's the latest?"

  • Sgodsell says:

    Android Wear from day one could run two types of apps. Standalone and regular Android apps (phone or tablet) that inject some Android Wear functionalities. You guys reported that Android Wear can now run standalone apps like Apples WatchOS. That was bad reporting on your part. Especially when all third party watchOS apps require an iPhone app to begin with. Not so for an Android Wear app.

    The other thing is OEMs can add any watch faces, or apps they like, to make their smart watch their own. They can make it round or square or anything they want. Plus they have a number of SoCs, display types, and a complete array of sensors including heart rate monitors, compasses, gyroscopes, magnetometers, GPS, O2. The other thing to take away from here is Android itself. It's one of the most versatile OS's out their, since it doesn't care what SoC it is running on. This is what helped to propel Android in the first place. Now it is running on over 2 billion devices world wide. So it makes sense to go with Android Wear. What are OEMs going to use Apples watchOS? So then all those OEMs would have to go with a square display, and use Apples specific hardware, only. Apples watchOS is only designed to use a square watch face. Talk about limiting.

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