Despite a lackluster year for the category in general, Google hasn't given up on smartwatches yet. In fact, the company will release two new watches early next year, to coincide with the release of Android Wear 2.0, the newest, delayed version of the operating system powering those devices.
According to a story on The Verge, these two new flagship watches will be the first to run Android Wear 2.0, which introduces features such as Google's Assistant (as seen on the Google Home speaker and Pixel smartphones), Android Pay, and standalone apps. The updated operating system will also support both Android and iOS smartphones, though, as with the current version of Android Wear, functionality will be different.
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The watches, which will be made and branded by a third party, won't be released until after the final developer preview of Android Wear 2.0 hits in January, said Jeff Chang, product manager of Android Wear at Google, in the Verge interview. Following the release of Google's smartwatches, other watches are expected to be released throughout 2017 from a variety of partners.
It remains to be seen if the improvements for Android Wear 2.0 will be enough to convince more people to start wearing smartwatches. Google will most likely face additional competition not just from Apple and Samsung (both of whom have their own smartwatch OSes) but Fitbit as well; that company's acquisition of Pebble likely indicates that the fitness tracker maker is looking to add additional smartwatch features to its devices.