Google’s Apple Watch rivals to land in early 2017

Google stepped up its fight against the iPhone when it launched its new Pixel smartphones earlier this month, and now it’s preparing to take on Apple Watch, too.

According to the latest whispers, the company will launch its first Android Wear watches — complete with Google Assistant — in early 2017.

Google has long been teaming up with hardware partners to offer its own Android-powered smartphones, but it is yet to dip its toes into the world of Android Wear. Recent rumors have promised it will happen, but we had no idea when.

[contextly_auto_sidebar] Now reliable leaker Evan Blass (@evleaks) tells us that Google’s first watches — codenamed Angelfish and Swordfish internally — will launch during the first quarter of 2017 with Android Wear 2.0 pre-installed.

Like Apple Watch, these wearables are expected to come in two sizes, but they’ll likely be circular instead of square. The larger model is said to offer GPS connectivity like Apple Watch Series 2, as well as LTE. However, it’s thought the smaller model will lack both of these things.

The image above from Android Police is a mockup of Google’s watches based on the early rumors. It’s highly unlikely the final models will look like this, but they’re expected to be similar, with metallic cases, traditional watch lugs, and up to three physical buttons.

As well as bringing Google Assistant to your wrist, Android Wear 2.0 will also support standalone apps that you’ll be able to use without a connected smartphone. That will be ideal for Google’s larger watch, assuming it will have cellular connectivity built-in.