Don't expect to see any new smartwatches from LG, Lenovo, or Huawei before 2017. The three biggest Android Wear manufacturers have confirmed to CNET that they won't release new hardware in 2016, leaving LG as the only one of the three that has released a smartwatch this year.
IFA is usually the time when these companies have announced new smartphones, but the event came and went without a third generation Moto 360 or a follow-up to the Huawei Watch. So why the reluctance to release new Android Wear hardware? A number of factors: the inability to include an LTE radio without serious trade-offs to battery life and bulk, the fact that Apple has so far been unable to turn the smartwatch industry into a cash machine like it did with smartphones and tablets, and the overall lack of interest from consumers who would rather spend their money on cheaper fitness bands, according to research firm CCS Insight.
Samsung admitted to CNET that most smartwatch consumers are male early adopters, which shows that the industry hasn't been able to captivate the average consumer yet. (Probably because most smartwatches look like utilitarian gadgets rather than attractive accessories, something that traditional watchmakers figured out about 75 years ago.)
It's also troubling that Android Wear 2.0 is expected to be released this fall and apparently Google's biggest smartwatch partners don't have plans to release new devices with the software. While there have been rumors of a Nexus smartwatch, I doubt Google expected the only major Android Wear hardware we may see this year to come from within its walls.
Google may have some work to do to keep its Android Wear partners engaged
While it appears Google may have some work to do to keep its Android Wear partners engaged and producing new hardware, it doesn't seem like any of these concerns will slow down Samsung or Apple — both of which seemingly stuck to their rollout schedules, announcing the Gear S3 and Apple Watch Series 2, respectively, within a week of each other.
Both Apple and Samsung are searching for new viable revenue streams and are hoping the smartwatch can be one of those new streams. But it's still unclear if the two companies will be able to capture the attention of the casual consumer like they have with the iPhone and Galaxy line of smartphones without a complete design overhaul of their smartwatch offerings.