The Verge is reporting that Google — possibly taken aback by the cooling of the smartwatch business and the evident lack of enthusiasm for Android Wear 2.0 — will build two models of an Android Wear watch early in 2017.
Jeff Chang, Google’s product manager of Android Wear, told the site that the watches will be sold and branded by a third party, which he did not name, and will not carry Google or Pixel branding. The watches will include an NFC chip and use Android Pay, although an NFC chip is not required by an Android Wear reference design.
Existing Android Wear devices will get updates to version 2.0 after the new watches ship, Chang said. He also told The Verge that there will be more Android Wear watches announced at CES next month and at the Baselworld watch show later this winter.
This is not Google’s first foray into watchmaking. When the Moto360 came out, Google owned the Motorola brand. It subsequently sold Motorola to Lenovo, which announced recently that it was removing smartwatches from its product roadmap.