Google made a big splash last year when it announced Android Wear 2.0 with a variety of new features and improvements. However, not much happened after that as manufacturers ended up not releasing any new smartwatches and Google itself pushed back the release of the updated OS until sometime in 2017. In a world of Samsung and Apple dominating the smartwatch business, ZTE has now reignited some of the fire with an announcement that they will be releasing their own Android Wear smartwatch this year.
Join us after the break for more.
While there is no specific information about the watch (or watches) ZTE is planning for 2017, what we do know is that the Chinese company is working with at least one US carrier to bring LTE support to the device. Despite the advances smartwatches have made over the years, being tethered to your phone is one of the more common complaints. So having LTE support will provide much more freedom from your phone while wearing the device, especially for those who use the activity sensors on the smartwatch while out on runs, for example.
In fact, dedicated activity trackers from companies such as Fitbit and the latest Huawei Fit tend to be a more popular choice as many users either don’t feel the need to have dozens of apps and messaging or phone call services on their wrist. All of this combined with Android Wear manufacturers pausing their plans for new smartwatches left us in a grim state at the end of 2016.
Android Wear 2.0, which should be released during the first half of 2017 (along with the possible release of Google’s own fabled smartwatches), will bring a host of new features to the platform that could help it take off and gain more users. Support for standalone apps, a new material design, better messaging integration and inputs, and support for new levels of fitness tracking with Google Fit, will finally give users a lot of the features they’ve long asked for. Waiting for Android Wear 2.0 is the big reason why most manufacturers delayed any new smartwatches and it looks like ZTE wants to be among the first in line.
Better battery life is one of the features ZTE is highlighting for their own upcoming smartwatch as something to set it apart from its competitors. One of the biggest complaints about almost any wearable device is needing to charge it every night and the last thing many users say they want is yet another device to plug in all the time.
We will keep an eye out for any additional updates. If ZTE can provide a sleek smartwatch with LTE support, long-lasting battery, and taking advantage of all the improvements Android Wear 2.0 will bring, they could have a real winner in their hands.