Google earned itself high expectations in 2014 when Android Wear launched because people finally felt serious smartwatches were inbound; however, consumers didn’t exactly get what they expected. The initial smartwatches, the LG G Watch and Samsung Gear Live, let people down with their angular displays and cheap build quality. Motorola’s Moto 360 was able to resuscitate interest, but that only lasted briefly as Android Wear was still limited. Fast forward two years and we’re still not in a place where Android Wear is all that great. And it appears Google’s partners are prepared to wait quite a bit for the platform to improve before lending any further support.
While not leaving the smartwatch business entirely, many companies are halting production of new devices until next year. LG, Huawei, and Lenovo have all confirmed they’re not going to release any smartwatches for the rest of 2016.
Companies choosing to hold off on working with Android Wear informed Roger Cheng of CNET that there’s currently a “general lack of enthusiasm” for smartwatches. Consumers have yet to see a must-have device to put on their wrists.
Although new smartwatches from LG and Huawei weren’t expected, Lenovo seemed ready to announce a new Moto 360 at IFA 2016. A last-minute decision by executives must have kept that device behind the curtain.
The only Android Wear devices being released in the final quarter of 2016 are the ASUS ZenWatch 3, Nixon Mission, Fossil Q Wander and Q Marshal, . With all due respect, none of those companies are the flashy partners Google has leaned on in the past. Android Wear needs big players to show up, create devices, and promote in order to experience growth around the world.
Earlier this year, Samsung pulled away from Android Wear in favor of its in-house platform, Tizen, that is built specifically for its own devices. The company has put out the Gear S2 and Gear S3 with plenty of praise, causing people to suggest that Google is falling way behind of everyone in the wearables space. Android Wear, one of the first true smartwatch platforms, now faces competition from Apple, Samsung, Fitbit, Pebble, and others.
There’s a strong possibility, however, that Google announces two Android Wear devices of its own this fall. We believe the smartwatch, known internally as Angelfish and Swordfish, will debut on October 4 at the rumored launch event for new hardware.
As it abandons the Nexus brand, Google getting serious about creating its own devices to sell. Google’s primary opponent in refocusing its view on hardware is Apple.