Is the wearables market in trouble? Motorola seems resigned to abandon the sector, citing subdued interest from consumers. Motorola parent Lenovo said in late 2016 that it doesn’t “see enough pull in the market to put [a new smartwatch] out at this time,” and added “Wearables do not have broad enough appeal for us to continue to build on it year after year.”
Well, Google obviously doesn’t feel the same way about wearables, as it today introduced the Android Wear 2.0 platform for smartwatches. Android Wear 2.0 has been a long time coming, and it has been faced with delays, but it looks as though it was all well worth the wait.
LG Watch Style
Google is making Android Wear a more customizable experience, and is putting always-on watch faces front and center. They can be personalized to your taste with information and actionable items from third-party apps to make them more useful. “A quick tap on your watch face lets you instantly order an Uber ride, start a workout, or get in touch with your significant other,” writes Google.
The Google Fit workout app has also been given a thorough upgrade, as it is now able to track distance traveled, calories burned in addition to your heart rate. You can track these vitals while running, walking or even cycling. The Google Assistant also makes an appearance on Android Wear 2.0, and it is now easier to read and respond to messages directly from your smartwatch using apps like Facebook Messenger and Google Hangouts.
As we’ve reported previously, the Google Play Store is now available directly from your watch, allowing you to browse and install apps with ease. This is course is accomplished using built-in Wi-Fi, or if you have a cellular-enabled Android Wear device, through an LTE connection. In case you haven’t already noticed, Google is trying to emphasize Android Wear 2.0 as a more independent platform that is less reliant on your smartphone (as is the case with competing platforms like the Apple Watch). With LTE connectivity, Android Wear 2.0 devices have greater freedom in just about any situation.
To showoff Android Wear 2.0’s capabilities, Google has partnered with LG to launch two new flagship smartwatches: the LG Watch Sport and Watch Style. The Watch Style is the looker of the two, featuring a thin aluminum casing that is available in either silver, rose gold or titanium. The LG Watch Sport is a bit thicker, thanks to its inclusion of GPS and LTE radios. It also includes a heart rate sensor for fitness tracking.
LG Watch Sport
The Watch Sport has a 480×480 1.38-inch P-OLED display, Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 2100 processor, 768GB of RAM and 4GB of internal storage. The Watch Style has a 1.2-inch 360x360 display with 512MB of RAM and 4GB internal storage. The Watch Style has a 240 mAh battery, while the Watch Sport has a larger 430 mAh battery to power its added hardware.
According to Google, the $350 LG Watch Sport will be available from AT&T, Verizon Wireless, and the Google Store. The $250 LG Watch Style can be purchased from Best Buy or the Google Store starting February 10th.