Google is planning to release a mysterious new watch-to-watch messaging service during its next Android Wear update, according to tech website Phandroid.
Android Wear is an operating system used by numerous smartwatches, including the Motorola Moto 360, LG G Watch Urbane and Sony Smartwatch 3.
Phandroid reported being tipped off to the messenger service, as a well as a wealth of other incoming Android Wear features, by a number of unnamed sources.
Google declined to comment on the report when contacted by Business Insider, however if true the messenger service will be a direct attempt to one-up the Apple Watch.
The Apple Watch already has a smartwatch-to-smartwatch messenger feature that lets users send doodles to each other.
The mysterious Android messenger will reportedly build on this and let users send and receive text messages, stickers and doodles on their smartwatch.
The update will also reportedly add support for “interactive watch faces” with improved gesture controls.
Specifically, the interactive faces will include a new “single tap gesture” that lets users mount a variety of tasks.
The report listed things like using the tap gesture to alter the watch face’s colour and change what information is being displayed.
It is unclear when the update and new messenger service will arrive on smartwatch wearers’ wrists.
Phandroid’s source claimed “Google originally scheduled the launch for July 28,” but is now planning on releasing it at an unspecified point in August.
While unconfirmed, reactions to the rumoured new services have been mixed.
On Reddit, the majority of users expressed more interest in ways Google needs to improve Android Wear smartwatches’ battery lives.
“I just really want superior battery performance. It keeps me from using a lot of features,” wrote one user in a Reddit thread on the report.
The leaked update follows reports Google is losing increasingly large chunks of the emerging wearable market to Apple.
Apple released its first smartwatch, the Apple Watch, in the UK on 24 April, nearly a full year after Google unveiled Android Wear at its 2014 I/O developer conference.
Despite having a head start, according to research from Slice Intelligence, Android Wear is already falling behind the Apple Watch in global smartwatch sales.
According to Slice Intelligence the combined sales of all manufacturers using Google’s smartwatch operating system — including Motorola, LG, and Samsung — only add up to 720,000.
By comparison, Apple reportedly managed to sell around 957,000 Apple Watches within 24 hours of putting the device on sale.
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