Is a Nexus Watch on its way? If a report from Android Police is to be believed, then Google may be working on two smartwatches of its own in house, code-named Angelfish and Swordfish. These would be the first pieces of wearable hardware coming out of Google — apart from Google Glass — that would show the likes Samsung, Lenovo and LG how to tackle Android Wear devices.
But any Google Watch would have to take on the Apple Watch. Apple's smartwatch is currently the biggest name on the market, meaning Google will have to come up with ways to make the watches it's reportedly developing stand out.
For starters, both watches will feature Google's new Assistant. The Assistant taps into its knowledge of users to assist in answering questions, making food orders, ordering movie tickets and sorting photos, among other things. We heard a bit about this AI during Google's latest I/O presentation, but we still need to test it to see how it can compete against Siri.
Another differentiating tactic could be style. The Angelfish and Swordfish watches reportedly look very different. Angelfish is allegedly a larger watch, along the lines of the Moto 360 or LG Urbane, with a large face, angular curves and visible lugs. Android Police reports that it's 14 millimeters thick with a diameter of 43.5mm, which should offer plenty of room for a battery. The other watch, Swordfish, is thinner (Android Police likens it to the Pebble Time Round), but without the bezel. It's just 10.6mm thick, has a diameter of 42mm and will be available in silver, titanium and rose gold.
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This means that you'll be able to choose your style with Google's watches. Want something more elegant or colorful? Go for Swordfish. Need something that will stand out? Angelfish would be for you.
It also seems that Google is targeting more price ranges. Angelfish is rumored to feature GPS, LTE and a heart rate monitor, which could be enough to make it independent of a phone. The current version Apple Watch needs to be tethered to a phone, though rumors swirl that Apple is working on a new version of the watch that will be more independent.
Swordfish won't have LTE or GPS (Android Police is unsure on the heart rate monitor). That means the Swordfish would require your phone, but it would also be the cheaper flavor of Google Watch.
Finally, Google can beat Apple on its own devices. Apple Watches are still limited to (you guessed it) the iPhone, but Android Wear smartwatches work with both iOS and Android. With its two watches, Google won't just be making watches for Android users, but will broaden the base of available watches for the iPhone. Those who don't like the look, feel or price of the Apple Watch may be in the market for something else that still works with their smartphone.
It's smart for Google to jump on board the hardware train. One of its most valuable partners, Samsung, has focused more and more on its own operating system, Tizen, and LG has struggled with smartwatches, canceling the LG Watch Urbane 2nd Edition LTE after just six days on the market. If Google is going to take on Apple for wrist space, it will need to be able to win on its own.