This last year was a big deal for Android. Google made substantial changes to its product lineup, took a timeout on smartwatches, and was silent on the topic of tablets. What's going to happen in 2016? I can't know for sure, but I know what my hopes and fears for Android in 2017 are. There are many of them.
I personally like smartwatches, but I'm fully cognizant that my job is basically to be a giant nerd. For regular people, smartwatches have yet to catch on. Android Wear is in an interesting place because Google relies upon its OEM partners to make and sell the hardware. It just handles the core software development. In 2016, the number of new smartwatches dropped off and Google had to take a bogie on the big Android Wear 2.0. Needless to say, I'm worried for Android Wear in 2017.
Motorola and Huawei skipped launching new Wear devices in 2016, and Motorola confirmed it's not even developing more watches. Meanwhile, Google had to delays the release of Android Wear 2.0 when feedback on the developer preview was, to put it kindly, terrible. It's now expected to launch in early 2017. That's not all, though. Google is also releasing new flagship watches.
The word on Google's Wear 2.0 watches came from Google's Android Wear product manager Jeff Chang. There will be two of them that run Android Wear 2.0 out of the box, They'll be the first devices to run the new software, and they'll be sold directly by Google. However, the OEMs branding will still be present. These won't be "Pixel" devices.
This is probably the last shot Android Wear has in its current state. We'll know by around the middle of 2017 if Wear is taking off. If it doesn't I feel like Google is going to have to go back to the drawing board to come at wearables from a different direction.