Samsung has dropped a surprise at its Unpacked 2015 event by showing off a new Gear S2 smartwatch. The model appears to be a far cry from the original Gear S, however. Samsung has upped the style quotient considerably with a round watch face, metal body and new user interface. Given the naming convention (it lacks the “Galaxy” moniker that generally denotes Android), it likely runs on Samsung’s Tizen OS rather than Android Wear, like the original Gear S.
Many smartwatches have a tendency to look like a tiny computer on your wrist. But Huawei‘s first shot at the wearable looks more like a classic timepiece.
The Chinese manufacturer announced its entry into the smartwatch market on Sunday at Mobile World Congress 2015 in Barcelona, Spain. The Huawei Watch is an elegant circular watch that runs on Google’s Android Wear software. The company is targeting both men and women with the product, allowing users to personalize it based on colors (silver, black and gold), a variety of band options (for example, leather and stainless steel) and 40 different watch faces.
The Huawei Watch will launch by mid-2015, likely in June.
The AMOLED display is 42 mm in diameter, which, according to the company, is the most compact design that exists. This was to make it more appealing to both genders; typically, smartwatches skew more masculine-looking because of the limited size and style options. The display is protected with a sapphire crystal covering to prevent scratching, which is a nice touch. Many existing smartwatches on the market are protected with Gorilla Glass, but traditional watches typically come with sapphire crystal glass, which has a different look.
Like other smartwatches, the Huawei Watch will let wearers receive text messages, check email, receive phone call notifications, play with apps and view their calendars directly from the touchscreen. The device is powered by a Qualcomm 1.2GHz processor and syncs up with smartphones running Android 4.3 and higher. Under the hood, the Huawei Watch includes 4GB of storage, 512 MB of RAM and Bluetooth 4.1 compatibility.
The watch can also function as a fitness tracker; its sensor can tell whether a person is running, biking or sleeping, and tracks those stats, including calories burned, distance traveled and heart rate via its built-in heart rate monitor.
Huawei added that it will be building a “health and lifestyle ecosystem” to help users stay on top of their goals and progress, with the help of partners and app platforms like Jawbone.
The circular shape and the stainless steel frame is a nod toward traditional watches and a design that most consumers already consider more appealing. As we’ve noted previously, many smartwatches — including the Apple Watch, slated to be released in April — have square or rectangular-shaped designs, because it’s difficult to fit so much technology into a smaller, curved case. But Huawei does a striking job.The arrival of the Huawei Watch doesn’t come as a huge surprise. Manufacturers with roots in the smartphone industry like Apple, Samsung, LG and Motorola have already invested big money and resources into developing a wearable, so it makes sense for Huawei to follow suit. The look of the watch isn’t a huge shocker, either; two promotional videos leaked online earlier in this weekend, which were pulled shortly after. A promotional ad for the watch was also spotted at the El Prat airport in Spain.
This isn’t Huawei’s first attempt at wearables. Last year, it launched the TalkBand 1, a fitness tracker and Bluetooth headset hybrid.
The Huawei Watch has the potential to inch out competitors also banking on the circular look, like the Moto 360. However, unlike other competitors like the Apple Watch, the Huawei Watch runs on Android Wear, which has gotten shaky reviews.
The Huawei Watch will launch in 20 countries, including the United States, United Kingdom, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Norway, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates.
Pricing and availability has not been announced yet and will vary depending on the market, the company said.
Oh, you use an app on your phone to start your car? How passé. Hyundai‘s gearing up for CES by talking up an Android Wear app that’ll let you remotely unlock, locate and start your car with a tap on the wrist. Naturally, if you just can’t muster the energy to swipe on your smartwatch, you’ll be able to issue voice commands to get the job done, too. Isn’t the future grand?
While we’re not exactly surprised to see a major player like Hyundai embracing the ballooning wearables market, it’s definitely not the first company whose cars have bent to the whims of your watch. Android developer Matthew Patience whipped up a little Wear app of his own back in July that lets Tesla S owners fiddle with the sunroof remotely secure their rides… albeit without Tesla’s express permission. While that clever hack only worked for one car, Hyundai’s Wear app should play nice with several — any of the company’s BlueLink-enabled cars should listen to your commands, even ones as long in the tooth as the 2012 Sonata.
For now companies like Hyundai are in the wearable-friendly minority, but somehow we don’t think it’ll be long before others start to see the light (especially since the Droidification of the automotive industry is already well underway).
Hoping to capture more of a growing and increasingly competitive smartwatch market, Samsung adds to its own line with the Gear Live. Featuring a 1.63″ 320 x 320 Super AMOLED screen, the watch is powered by a 1.2GHz processor with 512MB of RAM and will use Google‘s new Android Wear wearable-specific operating system. This will allow users to control many of Google’s services including Google Now, Google Voice, Maps, Gmail, and Hangouts from their watch as well as its new Google Fit health and fitness metric aggregator.
Aside from Bluetooth 4.0, 4GBs of storage, and an interchangeable strap, the Samsung Gear Live also includes dust and water resistance and a heart rate monitor.
The $200 USD watch will debut on Google Play later today for shipment on July 7 before later reaching Samsung’s retail locations.
Submitting its own contender to the smartwatch arena, LG has just launched its G Watch with Google’s Android Wear OS. The watch features a 1.65-inch (280 x 280) IPS display, 4GB of storage, 512MB of RAM and a Snapdragon 400 processor — the same found in the Galaxy S4 Mini. Other hardware features include a nine-axis gyroscope, accelerometer and compass for interaction with navigation and fitness apps.
All of this is housed inside an IP67 dust and water-resistant stainless steel case, available in both Black Titan and White Gold. Both have matching silicone bands that are swappable for any 22mm strap.
The $229 USD G Watch goes on pre-order today through Google Play in 12 countries including the US, Canada, the UK, Germany, South Korea and Japan.
LG Electronics introduced the highly anticipated LG G Watch, one of the first devices powered by Android Wear, Google’s new operating system which extends the Android platform to wearables. As a wrist wearable device featuring a button-less design, the G Watch is aimed at a mass audience with its simple minimalist design, quick and “glance-able” access to useful information and seamless connectivity with other Android devices. At the core of the LG G Watch is a powerful and energy-efficient Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor clocking in at 1.2GHz. Paired with a low power consuming Always-On 1.65-inch IPS display with true-to-life color reproduction, the G Watch enhances the functionality of Android smartphones by providing quick access to useful information.
Connected via Bluetooth, the LG G Watch displays messages, shows who’s calling, controls music playback and more without the smartphone ever having to be removed from your pocket.Integral to the LG G Watch and Android Wear is a simple new user experience designed around cards, which provides useful information when it’s needed, and voice recognition which allows one to ask questions and get things done easily. With voice recognition, users can send text messages and search for useful information just by saying, “Ok Google.”
The G Watch will be offered in two colors — Black Titan and White Gold — and is constructed of PVD (Physical Vapor Deposition) coated stainless steel with a rugged silicone wristband in matching color. Furthermore, the G Watch is designed to be protected from dust and water resistant for up to 30 minutes to a depth of one meter. The LG G Watch is now available for pre-order on the Google Play Store for $229 USD.
Next week is Google‘s big developer conference, and according to a rumor from CNET, Samsung will be at center stage with a smartwatch running Android Wear. The usual unnamed people in the know suggest Samsung’s watch could even be a giveaway for attendees. Motorola and LG are also named as launching devices, although whether that includes the G Watch we’ve seen so much of is unknown.
Google’s video for developers gives a lot of hints at what the Android Wear experience will be like, but even with a number of smartwatches already on the market, we’re ready to see what hardware innovation is still possible. The other factor is Samsung’s internal decision between Android and its own OS, Tizen. It’s launched Tizen-based watches and phones, switched the original Galaxy Gear device to Tizen from Android, and prepared for TVs based on it.
After a bevy of details surfaced back in March regarding the upcoming release, LG‘s Google-powered G Watch has been officially unveiled. Powered by Google’s new Android Wear operating system, the smartwatch will boast a screen that never sleeps, water- and dust-resistance, and two different colorways – “Stealth Black” and “Champagne Gold.” While additional details remain unknown, it was previously reported that the design would feature a 1.65 inch IPS LCD display with 280 x 280 pixel resolution, as well as 512MB of RAM and 4GB of internal storage.
Stay tuned for concrete release details regarding the G Watch as it is expected to be available later this summer.