Android Wear watches at IFA: Handicapping Asus, LG and Motorola wearables

PCWorld | Aug 21, 2014

New Android Wear smartwatches from Asus, LG and Motorola will be directly hinged to Berlin's IFA trade show in early September. Jon Phillips riffs on what to expect in Episode 13 of Wearables Right or Wrong?

Wearables Right or Wrong? Asus is about to release the wackiest Android Wear watch of all.
That’s wrong.

So we just learned that Asus is definitely revealing a new smartwatch at the IFA trade show next month. We know it will run Android Wear, and a photo that Asus posted on Twitter suggests it will be more or less a simple rectangle.

Now, at first glance, this is not a recipe for excitement. Asus is famous for its wacky mobile designs like the PadFone, which slides a 5-inch smartphone into a 9-inch tablet. It’s a crazy hardware mash-up, and it reminds us that Asus loves taking risks in industrial design.

But unfortunately I wouldn’t expect any shape-shifting tricks or design innovation in this new watch. Android Wear is completely locked-down to its own user experience, and at best, I think the Asus watch might have a nice metal finish and a super-low price tag. That’s cool… but also sort of disappointing.

Wearables right or wrong? It’s not too soon for LG to update its G Watch.
That’s right.

So here’s another rumor swirling around the IFA trade show: LG is going to show off a new version of the G Watch, and the headline feature is an OLED display. It’s unclear whether the G Watch 2 will be announced publicly or just shown behind closed door, but either way, I say bring it on. And I don’t even care that the first G Watch just went on sale last month.

At this point in the Android Wear game, it behooves every competitor to iterate and refine. And they need to do so as quickly as possible -- especially because the dazzling Moto 360 is about to be released. And if LG really wants to make a stir, they’ll drop the G Watch price by about $70.

Wearables right or wrong? The Moto 360 is a shameless tease.
That’s right.

Now the Moto 360 is definitely the coolest-looking Wear watch we’ve seen. We can’t get enough of that circular display. But Motorola has basically been playing peekaboo with this watch for the last five months, and the act is getting tired.

It started in March when Motorola first showed off the 360 and teased its basic specs. Then at Google I/O in June, many of us got to see the watch in person, but Motorola was still coy about details. The final tease occurred this week when Best Buy accidentally posted a product page with full specs and features. The most important reveal was the price tag, a mere 250 bucks.

It’s a great competitive price, but enough of the teasing – we want the damn watch. Luckily that day is just around the corner, and I expect to begin testing the first week of September. Stay tuned for my final review of the year’s most anticipated wearable of all.