An email sent out to Android Wear developers has revealed that Android Wear 2.0, a major upgrade to the platform announced at Google I/O back in May 2016, will be released in early February 2017. Previously the update was expected to launch in "early 2017".
Developer previews for Android Wear 2.0 have been available since the middle of 2016, with Google originally eyeing an end-of-2016 launch for the update. It's still not clear exactly why Google delayed Android Wear 2.0 to 2017, but more time to polish the operating system and its apps is usually a good thing.
There has been a serious lull in the smartwatch industry for the best part of a year. Several major OEMs that invested in the original Android Wear platform, such as Motorola and Huawei, have taken an indefinite break from making new devices. There were some low key Android Wear smartwatch launches at this year's CES, but for the most part, interest in the platform and smartwatches in general has waned significantly.
Android Wear 2.0 should breathe some life into smartwatches when it launches in February, as it will bring an overdue interface overhaul to Wear, along with new fitness features and the introduction of the Play Store. Several new Android Wear smartwatches should hit the market around the launch of Wear 2.0, including the chunky outdoor-oriented Casio WSD-F20.