September is shaping up to launch not one, but two Android Wear smartwatches. We already know that Motorola is holding a press event on September 4 where the highly anticipated Moto 360 is expected and now it appears Asus will have its own Android Wear entry one day prior. The company tweeted out a telling image on Tuesday, suggesting its own smartwatch will debut at Berlin’s IFA event on September 3.
— ASUS (@ASUS) August 19, 2014
There’s little to be learned from the image, save for what appears to be a square-shaped device. Asus was one of the original Android Wear hardware partners when Google introduced the platform for wearable devices so it’s highly likely this Asus watch will use the same software found on the other three Android Wear devices announced or already available: The Samsung Gear Live and LG G Watch went on sale earlier this summer.
In a relatively short span of time then, we’re going from no Google Android Wear smartwatches to at least four to choose from. And there are still at least two more Android Wear partners that haven’t yet announced a product — HTC and Fossil — so it’s possible that consumers will have a half-dozen choices sooner rather than later.
What Asus and others who will follow have to do then is find ways to differentiate their Android Wear products, which isn’t easy as Google controls the software; the company won’t even allow hardware partners to create “skins” or alternative app launchers on the watches.
My guess is that Asus will try to compete on price and keep the cost of its Android Wear watch under $199, or at least $30 less than LG’s wearable device. I’m not sure Asus has the economies of scale that Samsung does — which has repurposed and tweaked several watch designs since October — in order to undercut its $199 Gear Live, however.