In short: Armani Exchange has now launched itself into Google's Wear OS-enhanced smartwatch ecosystem with its Armani Exchange Connected, bringing its style in a relatively affordable package with plenty of technology to back that up. There are a total of four configurations which differ only in color and run the latest iteration of Wear OS powered by the Snapdragon Wear 2100 SoC, meaning all of the functionality brought by the Android-based firmware is intact, including smartphone connectivity with either major mobile OS, Google Assistant, heart rate and sleep tracking, GPS, and NFC. The design of each is centered around stainless steel and a distinctly Armani style complete with an H-link bracelet watchband and Armani watch faces. Colors include 'Gold Toned', 'Silver Toned', Black, and a cobalt steel color the company calls 'Blue'. A 300mAh battery powers that package regardless of which color is chosen.
Background: This wearable actually represents the first Wear OS touchscreen smartwatch to be built out and sold by Armani Exchange, making Armani the latest fashion designer brand to come into the Google ecosystem. It is a bit surprising that Armani opted to forego the most recent iteration of Qualcomm's Snapdragon Wear component, the 3100, since the brand isn't necessarily associated with holding back in terms of quality. With that said, Armani Exchange is considered the entry level for the brand as well and Armani has launched Wear OS devices before. So using a somewhat older SoC makes sense since it likely helped Armani keep the pricing manageable at right around $295 per watch, not including taxes or shipping, without compromising elsewhere. Other Armani brands, on the other hand, will likely begin incorporating the newer SoC at a higher cost moving forward, keeping a separation between the brands. In the meantime, this is not Armani's first smart or tech-enabled wearable. Prior to the Armani Exchange Connected, the company has had several hybrid watches with vibrate function and smartphone connectivity for controlling various apps or features via customizable buttons.
Impact: Refinement and a focus on style appear to be central to Armani Exchange's approach to Wear OS. Rather than focusing on bringing the largest possible display in as small a frame as possible, the company has incorporated a 1.2-inch screen in a 46mm case. That makes this watch a bit bulkier than most available smartwatches but with the added benefit of it having the aesthetics of a high-end fashion watch – which typically aren't the slimmest timekeepers on the market.