Last week Google announced Android Wear 2.0, the first major upgrade to their watch software. Google wrote an in-depth blog post that covers all of the new features, and this video shows them off a bit:
Similar to the iPhone vs Android battle, Google released their watch first in 2014 (and Apple followed suit the following year), but then Apple made big improvements and Google is catching back up. Along with the new software, Google and their partners released a variety of new watches, some of which can be seen here:
You can make good arguments that the Apple Watch is superior, but it’s hard to say that the Google watches aren’t better looking. Since my watch (the Moto 360 v2, seen in this post) is a getting a bit older, I’m considering one of the new watches. However, I’m not quite sold yet. It’s not that they’re bad watches, but I’m just not sure they hit what I need.
When I purchased the Moto 360, I did it with the full intention of having a “dumb” smartwatch. I wanted something that would show me notifications and let me ask questions, but I had no need for 4G integration or GPS. I have a running watch (and a phone) to handle those. With that in mind, I got the nice-looking Moto 360, but with a sweat-unfriendly leather band. It looks great and works great, and I have other hardware to use when I work out.
The new watches are now cramming more features into them. The new LG Watch Sport has NFC for payments, GPS, 4G and a heart rate sensor. All good things, but not really things I need. The other main watch they just revealed is the LG Watch Style — a simpler watch without some of those extra sensors and features. I’m more attracted to that one, but it’s not really much different than my current watch.
Keep them separate?
I’ve been on the wrong side of history with the “separate” argument a few times. I remember when Google Maps added turn-by-turn support; I thought it was a pretty neat (which it was), but I preferred to keep my phone and my Garmin GPS separate. Now virtually everyone, including me, uses their phone for turn-by-turn navigation in the car.
Perhaps I’ll eventually want a single watch to do everything, but for now I’m a fan of my “dumb” smartwatch. Android Wear 2.0 should be arriving on it in a few weeks, so I’ll still get the new interface and many of the new bells and whistles. This big push from Google will also see a bunch of additional new watches released later this year, so perhaps one of those will catch my eye.
If you had your choice, what would be the watch you’d most like to wear?