It’s been a while since there’s been a splashy Android Wear release, but it looks like all that’s about to change in a few short days. Rumors have been swirling around the release of a new watch co-designed by Google and LG to drop alongside the long-delayed release of Android Wear 2.0, and the wait will likely end this week.
The release should kick off a new round of watches from the likes of Huawei, Asus, and others, but for now, all eyes will be on Google’s first foray into wearable hardware. Here’s what we know so far.
What will they look like?
There aren’t a ton of Android Wear options for users with small wrists, but a report from VentureBeat’s Evan Blass claims that the new LG-Google watches will likely come in large and small varieties, with the Sport variant featuring a 1.38-inch, 480×480 screen, and the more petite Style watch having a 1.2-inch, 360×360 display. That might not seem like much of a difference, but it will definitely be noticeable for people who have found Android Wear watches to be too big to wear.
However, the watches will be a little bulky, according to Blass, with thicknesses of 14.2mm for the Sport model and 10.8mm for the Style. Based on leaked images, the watches follow Android Wear’s round aesthetic and feature rounded bezels, which should help them appear more svelte than they are.
Additionally, the companies have opted to fit both devices with Apple Watch-style digital crowns to aid in navigation. Based on leaked photos, the Sport model also includes a pair of buttons above and below the crown, but a purported leak of the user guide published by DroidLife gives a little insight into what they do: The top button will launch the Fit Workout app and the lower one will be tied to Android Pay. It’s unclear from the description whether they can be customized to launch other apps.
According to the user guide, you’ll press and hold the crown for one second to summon the Google Assistant. Of course, we assume “OK Google” will still do the same.
The watches are said to come in a variety of colors. The larger model will reportedly be available in titanium and dark blue options (though a leaked picture seems to indicate the existence of a black or dark grey model as well), while the smaller watch is said to be sold in titanium, silver, and rose gold finishes. Pictures of the Style watch in rose gold and titanium have already been spotted.
Additionally, LG is set to sell an array of swappable bands for the new watches, putting a focus on style. The pictures we’ve seen show the titanium and rose gold Style watches paired with light brown and beige bands, respectively, but a spy shot of the box shows a titanium-colored Style watch with a black leather band, so it’s likely that buyers will be able to select a specific combination of band and finish upon purchase. According to images in the user guide, the bands will swap out by pressing a small button on the underside, similar to the way Samsung’s straps are changed.
What will they do?
One of the best features of the new version of Android Wear is support for Android Pay, but your watch is going to need a built-in NFC chip to take advantage of it. According to VentureBeat’s report, however, only the larger Sport model will include an NFC chip, meaning the smaller model likely won’t be able to enjoy on-the-go wrist payments, a claim that has been backed up by the user guide leak. It’s a curious decision to hold back such a major feature on a brand-new watch, so if true, it’ll be interesting to hear the explanation.
The larger model will also ship with with LTE, GPS, a barometer, and a heart-rate sensor, while both watches will include Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, along with the usual fitness features. Additionally, both watches will reportedly be IP67-certified, meaning they can be submerged in about 3 feet of water for 30 minutes. Under the hood, Blass reports that the Sport watch will have 768MB of RAM, compared to the Style’s 512MB, as well as a much larger 430mAh battery, compared to 240mAh on the smaller model.
Charging the batteries will differ between the models as well. According to the user guide, the larger model will feature a Gear S3-style cradle, while the Style model will simply include the magnetic puck-style induction charger like the one Apple includes with its watch.
When are they launching and how much will they cost?
It was originally reported by Blass that Google and LG would be releasing their new creations on Thursday, Feb. 9, but now he says the unveiling has been moved up a day to Wednesday, Feb. 8. According to reports from Android Police, the Style watch will cost $250, while the Sport will set you back an extra $100 for $350 total.