Yes, you’ve read that right: Big Red is getting into the watch business. Called Wear24, presumably a reference to its all-day connectivity, the wearable competes directly with the LG Watch Sport, currently the top-of-the-line Android Wear 2.0 watch. According to CNet, the Quanta-manufactured watch features a slightly bigger screen (1.39 inches vs. 1.38 inches) and battery (450mAh vs. 440mAh). It also includes IP67 water resistance, NFC, and LTE, ticking off enough boxes to be taken seriously. It’s even a little thinner than the Sport (13.5mm vs. 14.2mm), and has a slimmer bezel. And based on a single render (seen at left in the image above), it looks good.
Hardware products are rare from Verizon, but this wouldn’t be the first Android device made by the carrier. In addition to its line of budget-minded Ellipsis tablets, it recently began selling the GizmoTab, an 8-inch tablet geared specifically toward kids, loaded with 300 educational apps like Crayola Color and Nat Geo Puzzle Explorer.
However, the Wear24 is most certainly a premium device designed to compete at the upper end of the market. Like the Sport, the Wear24 will sell for $300 with a 2-year contract and $350 without one, though it will cost existing Verizon customers $5 a month to add it to their plan.
A little friendly competition: Releasing a product designed to compete with a new, highly anticipated Google launch is certainly an interesting move for Verizon, but it’s especially curious in light of the exclusive partnership the two companies have with the Pixel. Verizon hasn’t released any availability for the new watch, but the timing of the announcement, right before Google and LG start selling their own wearables, is clearly designed to take some of the luster away from the Sport’s launch. Of course, we’ll have to wait to see how the watches stack up in daily use, but on paper, Google already has some serious competition.