Google Nexus smartwatch
Google set to enter smartwatch market. Lewis Painter reports
While the Android Wear front has been relatively quiet recently, two new Nexus-branded smartwatches are rumoured to be heading to the market this year, flaunting the yet-unreleased Android Wear 2.0 OS with a gorgeous design. Android Police received a tip from a reliable source that Google is working on two smartwatches, one codenamed Angelfish and one codenamed Swordfish, and here’s all we know about them so far.
So, when are we going to be seeing the Google Nexus Angelfish and Swordfish smartwatches? While there are no solid rumours at the moment, the general consensus amongst tech publications is that the smartwatches will be revealed after the launch of the upcoming Google Nexus 5/6 smartphones, which are due out later this year.
Looking at the evidence we speculate that the Nexus smartwatches will be released near the end of 2016, if not early 2017.
So, what can we expect in terms of design from the two Google Nexus smartwatches, Angelfish and Swordfish? While the two are actively being developed together, there are a few differences between the two. Based on its original report, Android Police published a rendering of what the smartwatches could look like along with the claim that the image isn’t an interpretation, but instead “recreations of primary source material” – whatever that means.
Angelfish Let’s start with the more premium of the two Nexus smartwatches, code name Angelfish. Angelfish is said to be the larger of the two smartwatches, bearing some resemblance to the Motorola Moto 360 – without the flat tyre, of course. The smartwatch apparently features visible lugs with a smooth housing that curves where the watch strap meets the body of the device, giving it a smoother (and more premium, we imagine) look
and feel when compared to the angular lugs and multi-piece design of watches like the LG Watch Urbane.
Interestingly, Angelfish is said to have not one but three buttons. Why is this interesting? Most Android Wear smartwatches feature a single button, with Casio’s Android Wear smartwatch being one of the only exceptions to the rule. Angelfish is said to feature a large crown button on the right hand side of the body with two circular buttons accompanying it, one above and one below. The purpose of these buttons is unclear at this time, but we speculate that users will be able to set up custom shortcuts to popular apps, and so on.
It’s the thicker of the two Nexus smartwatches, though. Measuring in at 14mm thick, the Nexus Angelfish smartwatch is similar to the LG Urbane LTE in terms of bulk, but we imagine this is to accommodate for a larger battery due to the LTE connectivity featured on the smartwatch (more on that below!). It’s apparently 43.5mm in diameter, making it smaller than the large 46mm Moto 360 but larger than the standard 42mm variant.
In terms of colour options, it seems like the Nexus Angelfish smartwatch may only be available to buy in a single colour, titanium.
Swordfish While Angelfish looks to have all the bells and whistles of a modern smartwatch, the Nexus
Swordfish looks to be a bit simpler. Described as being similar to the Pebble Time Round without the huge screen bezel in terms of design, Swordfish also sports a different button arrangement when compared to Angelfish.
While Angelfish features three buttons, Swordfish features only one – a crown on the righthand side of the smartwatch. It’s said to have a polished metal cap with a rigid crown-like bezel similar to that featured on the Apple Watch, which should again help convey the premium look and feel of the smartwatch.
Without the extended functionality of Angelfish, Swordfish can afford to be thinner than its counterpart measuring in at 10.6mm thin. While the thickness of Swordfish is pretty impressive at 0.8mm thinner than the current Moto 360, it’s not quite impressive enough to compete with the 7.5mm thin Pebble Time Round.
The Nexus Swordfish smartwatch is said to be available in more colours than Angelfish, with three choices available – Silver, Titanium and Rose Gold.
So now we know a bit about the physical design of the upcoming Google Nexus smartwatches, what will they feature? While the reports of the design
were fairly detailed, the same can’t be said for the internals. So, what do we know so far?
It’s been reported that the Nexus Angelfish smartwatch will feature all the bells and whistles of a 2016 smartwatch including GPS, a heart rate monitor and most impressively, LTE connectivity. The ability to connect to the internet without the need for a phone makes Angelfish potentially the first completely standalone Android Wear watch, following the announcement that standalone apps are to be supported in the forthcoming Android Wear 2.0 software update.
Swordfish on the other hand is a bit more mysterious, with no confirmed specification rumours – it could feature a heart rate monitor, but it’s unconfirmed at this stage.
What we do know is that both Swordfish and Angelfish will feature Google Assistant integration, Google’s personal assistant that was first showcased at Google I/O earlier this year. At the event Sundar Pichai mentioned that Nexus devices will get more exclusive software features, leading us to believe that the Nexus smartwatches will include functionality inaccessible by any other Android Wear smartwatch manufacturer.
Along with Google Assistant, Google is said to be working on a completely new style of watch faces that allow for quicker access to the things you need, such as notifications, information (like unread email count), media controls and app functions. It’s said that the controls will sit beneath the watch dial, and are very diverse in terms of the kinds of shortcuts offered, although again, specifics aren’t provided at this time.
Pebble Time Round
Motorola Moto 360