Shortly after Google announced Android Wear this morning, Motorola, Fossil and LG came out with their own associated announcements. Engadget reports that LG’s “G Watch” (presumably for Google) will arrive next quarter and be aggressively priced.
Motorola, which was just sold by Google to Lenovo, is launching a watch called Motorola 360 (see video below). Of the two it appears to be the more interesting one — because it’s round faced. However Motorola says “Moto 360 will be available in a variety of styles globally,” so there will probably also be rectangles.
Fossil is also an early Android Wear partner. What’s different with Fossil is that it’s a watch company getting into tech whereas the others are hardware companies getting into fashion.
It will be interesting to compare the features, quality and prices of these devices when they are revealed in the coming weeks and months. Design and price will be critical because presumably functionality and the UIs will be identical or nearly identical.
Poor design quality doomed Samsung’s initial Galaxy Gear watch. That has now been superseded by second-generation products, which have abandoned Android for Samsung’s proprietary Tizen.
My guess is that Samsung will have to re-evaluate and regroup again because the Android Wear watches (based on preliminary images) are likely to be both more “elegant” and user-friendly. (Interestingly, Samsung is also listed as one of the Android Wear partners.)
Fitbit, Nike FuelBand and a couple of other wearable fitness trackers have gained traction among consumers. They’re now potentially threatened by Android Wear as well, because fitness tracking and health monitoring will become integrated into these devices. I suspect Nike will integrate into Android Wear quickly.
The majority of existing smartwatches have not broken through to mainstream awareness or adoption. As with Samsung most of those companies, including Qualcomm, Sony and Pebble, will likely need to step back and adapt their products to a new market.
Assuming that Google and its partners do meaningful consumer marketing — and the watches are affordable and well-designed — we should see smartwatches hit the mainstream in the coming year. And if Apple finally launches its own “iWatch” the segment as a whole will benefit from broader consumer awareness.