Next Asus ZenWatch will make calls without a connected phone

Asus is already working on a better ZenWatch. Photo: Asus.

Asus is already working on a better ZenWatch. Photo: Asus.

Asus built one of the best Android Wear watches you can buy on its first attempt, and it is already promising a second-generation ZenWatch that will be even better.

In addition to the ability to make calls without being connected to a smartphone, the device could have significantly better battery life.

Asus chairman Jonney Shih, speaking at the company’s annual year end banquet on Saturday, told employees that there is still plenty of room for improvement with the ZenWatch, Tapei Times reports. Shih noted battery life was a key concern.

“The ZenWatch is defined by us as a companion to a smartphone, and we think it still has a lot of room for improvement,” he said. “As a companion device, its central processing unit and operating system should be more simplified than the current version, so that I can use it for up to seven days on one charge, rather than for just two days.”

Of course, simplifying the ZenWatch’s software is easier said than done. The existing model runs Google’s Android Wear platform — like the Moto 360 and the LG G Watch R — and unlike with regular Android, manufacturers have been blocked from making their own modifications.

If it wants a more simplified operating system, then, Asus may have to build its own.

One improvement that could be easier to implement is the ability to make calls. Shih reportedly let slip that the next ZenWatch will have built-in connectivity — like the Samsung Gear S — that will allow it to access the cellular network without a connected phone.

Shih also said that the device would be available during the third quarter of this year.

Asus is also planning two other wearables, both of which will be more affordable than the ZenWatch, with fitness tracking features like the ability to count footsteps, monitor heart rate, and even check blood sugar levels.