Google's Android Wear platform has had a mixed history. While it started off quite well, powering smartwatches from Samsung, LG, Motorola and others, smartwatch makers slowly would down production of new watches or migrated to other wearable operating systems, leading to a major slide in Android Wear's popularity.
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However, the next version of Android Wear is set for a promising start. Not only will it power two new LG smartwatches, but will also feature in Quartz, an upcoming smartwatch from ZTE which may launch at Mobile World Congress later this month.
From what we know so far, Quartz will feature a circular display, Qualcomm's new Snapdragon Wear 2100 processor and NFC for Android Pay. The display will sport a traditional watch look but the watch will look more like a sports watch with a thick wristband and a large face.
Software-wise ZTE Quartz will feature all the bells and whistles what will come with Android Wear 2.0. Android Wear 2.0 will bring in a new on-screen keyboard which will let you reply to texts and notifications from chat apps using your voice, saving you the effort of trying to type on your smartwatch. Other enhancements include added permissions for apps requesting personal information and Google Allo-esque smart reply tools.
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Google is also bringing in Play Store integrations to let Android Wear smartwatches run standalone apps rather than depending on companion smartphones. At the same time, the smartwatch may also feature LTE variants or Wi-Fi ones and may have the capability to run standalone unlike existing smartwatches.
Aside from ZTE Quartz, another smartwatch which will launch at Mobile World Congress is Huawei Watch 2. According to company sources, Huawei's second smartwatch will launch shortly and will release in the UK anytime between April and May of this year. Some sources have also suggested that the watch will feature a circular dial and may run Android Wear 2.0 like the Quartz. It remains to be seen if the upcoming smartwatches from ZTE and Huawei will revive the smartwatch industry following a sustained period of decline.