Motorola, LG unveil Android Wear smartwatches

Motorola and LG have unveiled smartwatches running Google’s new Android Wear OS.

Google yesterday announced Android Wear, a modified version of its mobile OS for use on wearables, with the first UI focusing on smartwatches.

The Motorola 360 and LG G Watch are the first devices running Android Wear – though neither manufacturer revealed much detail beyond photos of the devices.

The Moto 360 will arrive in the US in summer 2014, with wider availability not yet announced.

Motorola didn’t reveal specs or prices, or note whether the device will work with smartphones beyond its own Moto G and Moto X.

Moto 360

It did say the Moto 360 will show call, text and email notifications at a glance, and also use Google’s voice recognition system, allowing users to ask it for information or set tasks, such as scheduling an appointment.

Motorola said that “most importantly” it actually looks like a watch, and “feels comfortable and familiar on your wrist”.

LG G Watch

The LG G Watch will arrive in the second quarter of the year, and will work with a “wide variety” of Android smartphones. Further details, including specs and price, will be revealed in the next few months, LG said.

LG G Watch

LG worked “in close collaboration” with Google on the product, to ensure it “worked perfectly with Android Wear”.

“We’re confident that a well designed device has the potential to take the smart wearable market by storm,” said Dr Jong-seok Park, president and CEO of LG.

It remains to be seen exactly how large that “smart wearable” device market will actually be. It’s been tipped as the next big thing by manufacturers and analysts, but consumer sales have yet to take off.

Samsung last year released smartwatches running Android, but the Galaxy Gear device only worked with a limited number of Samsung handsets and struggled to sell. Its successor, the Galaxy Gear 2, dropped Android for the Tizen OS.

Aside from LG and Motorola, Google said it’s developing smartwatches with fashion companies. Clothing retailer Fossil suggested it was working with Google on a device, although it was still in the “formative research and development stage”.

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