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Next-generation LG and Google Android Wear 2 smartwatch may have Apple Watch-inspired Digital Crown

LG and Google's next-generation Android Wear smartwatch expected in early February is said to be adopting a Digital Crown — similar to the technology Apple pioneered in its wearable Apple Watch.

According to prolific product leaker Evan Blass, Google's next major revision of Android Wear will be released to the public, and a set of new LG smartwatches built in collaboration with Google will debut in early February. Early product leaks suggest that LG and Google have chosen to add a the Digital Crown that "serves to facilitate navigation," according to Blass's report at VentureBeat.

Notably, Google had issues with the user interface in developer previews of Android Wear 2.0. After changing the default "back" to a swipe gesture from a press of a physical button, users protested the decision. Google has since gone back to the physical button press for the action, necessitating the crown's addition on the watches.

The addition of the digital crown may reverberate to other vendors. Google controls the "core" Android Wear spec, and hardware released by the company in partnership with other companies, like the Nexus series of phones, is generally considered to be the reference for other manufacturers to follow.

As far as the hardware goes, LG is expected to release a 14.2mm thick, 1.38-inch 480x480 circular OLED display "sport" model, with 4 gigabytes of storage and 768 megabytes of RAM, with a heart rate sensor. Connectivity is said to be provided by Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, LTE, GPS, and NFC.

A smaller 10.8-mm thick "Style" model is also expected, with a 1.2-inch 360x360 OLED screen, 512MB of RAM, and also 4GB of storage, and no heart rate sensor. Connectivity is said to be limited to Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth.

While rumors circulate about Apple products, with some details unclear until just before launch, Google's future products are often accurately described months before release. The specification for Google's smartwatch have been available for some time on Android Police, and remain unchanged.

Pricing is not yet known on either model. Both watches are said to be iOS-compatible.

The Apple Watch Digital Crown takes its cues from traditional wristwatch design, but instead of a mechanical linkage of gears, Apple's version uses an electro-optical system to translate rotation into UI data. Instead of using multitouch gestures like iOS devices, Apple tapped Digital Crown for zooming, scrolling and general user interface navigation.