Report: Google to sell its own Android Wear watch in early 2017

The 'Made by Google' push is set to continue with smartwatches, but Google will have to up its game to compete with the Apple Watch Series 2.

Google is just getting started when it comes to selling its own hardware. Another rumor from the usually accurate Evan Blass points to a pair of Google-built watches that will come early next year.

We’ve heard this before, but we have a lot more context now after attending the ”Made by Google” hardware event, where the company showed off the Pixel, DayDream View headset, Chromecast Ultra, Google WiFi, and Google Home.

Something new to wear

The tenor of the gathering and the new shift by Google told us this wasn’t a one-off event. Google has installed Rick Osterloh, the former head of Motorola's mobile division, as the new senior vice president of hardware. There’s a dedicated Made by Google site that shows off all the gear, further solidifying that hardware will be a major part of Google’s strategy going forward. Nearly every speaker at the event talked about how Google services and the company’s desire to build a “personal Google” for every user require a deep integration between hardware and software.

google hardware Google

Google dropped a ton of hardware at its Oct. 4 event.

Given all of this, a watch makes perfect sense, particularly if it’s high-end and offers that deep software integration we heard so much about.

Android Wear has a lot of catching up to do with the Apple Watch. For Google to really compete, it ought to build a watch that targets the same type of features that Apple is banking on to drive customers to the Series 2 watch: a much brighter screen, GPS tracking, and waterproofing. Those, combined with a lot of software innovation related to fitness tracking, make the Apple Watch an ideal companion for the health-conscious.

Other watchmakers have hit the pause button this year, likely given the delay in Android Wear 2.0. It looks like a reboot of sorts is wisely on the way.

A new tablet?

There were rumors earlier this year that a Huawei-built tablet was coming. But it was nowhere to be found at the “Made by Google” event. And the rumor mill has gone dark. It’s all rather odd. Google desperately needs a new, Googley tablet that isn’t quite as thick or heavy as the Pixel C.

There aren’t a ton of compelling Android tablets out there. Plus, a new Pixel tablet would give Google the chance to get the new Google Assistant out into more hands and further drive people into its new hardware ecosystem. It’s certainly one of the rumors that we’ll want to watch as 2016 wraps up and we turn towards the new year.

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Derek Walter

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