The Android Wear 2.0 rollout has exactly gone smoothly. After months of delays, Google finally released its new OS in February alongside a pair of LG watches, but since then the options haven’t exactly been robust. While there have been several announcements of wearables in development, the Sport and Style watches are still the only made-for-Android Wear 2.0 watches on shelves, unless you’re willing to spend over a grand.
But all that’s about to change. Huawei has announced that its new wearable is now available for sale in the U.S., bringing a fitness-first watch built specifically for Android Wear 2.0. Previously unveiled at Mobile World Congress, the watch is a major departure from the original Huawei Watch, one of the most popular first-gen models.
However, fans who were looking for a similar design with an upgraded set of sensors and bigger battery might be disappointed. While the metal-wrapped watch is packed with tech—including GPS, a heart-rate sensor, 420 mAh battery, NFC for Android Pay, IP68 water resistance, and 768MB of RAM—the design deviates quite a bit from its predecessor, bringing a much bulkier frame and a decidedly more athletic aesthetic.
Consequently, Huawei is targeting the Watch 2 at workout buffs, with “advanced fitness solutions” that will help motivate and track your training. In addition to the new Google Fit benefits, the Huawei Watch 2 utilizes its sensors to keep close tabs on activity levels by monitoring steps, exercise, and standing times through your day, as well as constantly monitoring your heart rate.
The Huawei Watch 2 will be available in two styles, standard and Classic. The standard model costs $299 and comes in a choice of black or gray, while the $369 Classic, which isn't on sale yet, is limited to a single color, titanium. Buyers will also receive a free 10-week subscription to Google Play Music.
Also this week, Verizon announced that its own Android Wear 2.0 watch, the Wear24, will be available on May 11. The LTE-enabled watch will obviously be available exclusively on Verizon’s network, and sports a 1.39-inch AMOLED display, 450 mAh battery, GPS, and NFC, but no heart rate sensor. It will be available in silver, black, and rose gold for $350 or $300 with a two-year contract.
Watch this space: It’s taken longer than we would have liked, but finally the Android Wear 2.0 offerings are starting to ramp up. While we’re a little bummed that the Huawei Watch 2 doesn’t keep the elegant style of the first-gen model, it’s good to see more manufacturers supporting the platform, especially Android Pay. None of the original Android Wear watches include an NFC chip, so the new feature, one of the best in the new OS, is limited to new models, and we were beginning to wonder if any would ever support it. Our question has now been answered.