Rumors suggesting that LG and Google were partnering up to release a smartwatch are finally put to rest. LG announced Wednesday (March 19) that it and the search engine giant are in fact teaming up on a wearable called the LG G Watch.
This will be LG’s fourth time collaborating with Google on a mobile device. The Nexus 4, Nexus 5 and the Google Play Edition of the LG G Pad 8.3 were previous joint projects. “The opportunity to work with Google on LG G Watch was the perfect chance for LG to really pull out all stops in both design and engineering,” president and CEO of LG Electronics Mobile Communications Company, said Dr. Jong-seok Park said in news release to Examiner.
Motorola debuted its own upcoming wearable on Wednesday during a Google Hangouts session, the Moto 360 watch. What sets the new watch from Motorola apart from its competitors is its design. Unlike the Pebble watch and the Samsung Gear series of watches that have have a square face, the Moto 360 watch features a round design.
According to Motorola design chief Jim Wicks, the Moto 360 watch is inspired by time itself. “Time was always represented with a circle. Even now in our digital era, if you go to train stations, airports, it’s usually represented with that circular, iconic shape. So we really felt it was important to embrace that when we thought of redesigning what we believe is a modern day timepiece,” Wicks said.
Both the Motorola Moto 360 and LG G Watch will feature Google’s new Android Wear operating system (OS), which was announced on Tuesday. Designed specially for wearable devices, the Android Wear platform brings Google’s Android OS to the user’s wrist for quick access to important information.
“Watches are good at telling time. But imagine having useful, actionable information there precisely when you need it, automatically. Today we’re announcing that Android is extending to wearables,” director of engineering at Android, David Singleton said Tuesday.
The user interface (UI) of Android Wear has its own look and feel in comparison to the OS found on Android smartphones and tablets. “We designed an entirely new UI specifically for this form factor. It’s based around voice and contextual information that’s reactive to your surroundings,” designer at Android, Alex Faaborg said.
With an Android Wear watch like Moto 360 or the G Watch, users will always have useful real-time information such as the time and weather, upcoming appointments, travel information, sports scores and important messages. Voice command interaction with the wearable lets users reply to messages by speaking and sending their response. Android Wear’s “Ok Google” voice command functions like the Google Now feature found on Android smartphones and Google Glass. The user can say “Ok Google, find nearby restaurants” and the device will find and list local eateries.
While the Moto 360 watch is said to be compatible with Android devices running Android 4.3 Jelly Bean and later, LG says the G Watch is compatible with "a wide range of Android smartphones". It seems more likely that either Android Wear OS watch will work with any device running Android 4.3 firmware and higher. We'll know for sure when the watches arrive on the wearable tech market.
According to Motorola’s information signup site, the Moto 360 watch is slated for a summer release. The exact release date, and pricing information are currently unknown. Android Wear will debut on the LG G Watch between April and June of this year and LG made no mention of the price either. Previous rumors suggesting that the LG and Google watch collaboration would be unwrapped at the Google I/O conference in June still remain.