Google has confirmed it will enter the smartwatch industry in the first quarter of 2017 with two new products.
In an interview with tech site The Verge , Google’s Jeff Chang admitted they will be flagship products that will be used to launch the next version of Android Wear – Google’s watch-based operating system.
The move follows the launch of Google’s first smartphone, the Pixel , earlier this year which was used to launch the latest version of Android. It will also step up the competition to the market-leading Apple Watch.
According to Chang, the product manager for Android Wear at Google, the new watches won’t carry the Google or Pixel branding.
But, as with the phone, Google will instruct a third-party manufacturer to build the hardware to its own specifications.
“We’ve enabled a lot of diversity with our hardware partners to target different types of consumers and preferences,” he told the Verge.
Smartwatches have so far failed to break into mainstream success, mostly due to their high price and lack of any real killer features. Moreover, because they require a connection to a smartphone a lot of users opt for simple fitness trackers instead.
Earlier this month Pebble, one of the smartwatch pioneers, was scooped up by Fitbit in an acquisition deal that valued it at less than $40 million (£32m).
Other smartwatch makers include Samsung, which uses its own wrist-based OS for the likes of the Samsung Gear S3 even though its phones use Android.
Either way, Chang states that Google is committed to the sector and will bring in a range of new features with Android Wear 2.0.
That includes apps that don’t require a phone to work, compatability with Android Pay and support for the Google Assistant.
“This is a marathon, not a sprint. This category of product is here with us to stay,” he said.