Google hasn’t had much success in the nearly decade since it launched with Wear OS, and much of the blame lies with itself. Wearables have been neglected for years, missing out on major updates and significant hardware refreshes.
However, since partnering with Samsung in 2021, Wear OS has made a comeback of sorts. To make this transition fully successful, Wear OS requires a Hero device. During this year’s Google I/O, the Big G finally unveiled just that in the form of the Pixel Watch, due out in fall 2022, likely alongside the Pixel 7. The wait for the long-elusive Google accessory is finally over Above.
In the meantime, here’s everything we know about the Pixel Watch so far.
Google Pixel Watch: Design
Numerous rumors and leaks have revealed what the watch will look like ahead of the big reveal, including a non-working unit that was “left” in a bar in the US. The design the company ended up showing on the Google I/O 22 stage looks exactly like that forgotten unit. However, the official renders give us a better idea of how the wearable will perform, as the company has shared all of its visuals with the screen on.
The Pixel Watch comes in an understated, almost floating design that’s very similar, if not slimmer, to the Apple Watch. Google calls it a “domed” shape, with the bottom made from recycled stainless steel. A “tactile” crown on the right helps you navigate the interface and long lists.
The hardware is said to be around half an inch thick and around 1.5 inches in diameter, which is consistent with other round watches like the Samsung Galaxy Watch. Display bezels appear to be on the larger side, but this might not be as obvious when using a dark background watch face, which is what Google seems to be aiming for in all of its press renders.
The Google Smartwatch comes with custom straps that are said to be easy to attach and swap out, although the company has opted for a custom hinge. Even so, you cannot buy standard watch straps. So far, all of the straps Google has shown appear to be made from premium rubber materials, giving the watch a sporty look.
Build quality should be solid as Compal will be making the watch for Google. The same company also makes the Apple Watch, so they have a lot of experience making wearables.
Google Pixel Watch: health tracking and Fitbit integration
It’s still unclear what sensors the Pixel Watch will include, but Google does point out that this will be a great wearable for fitness tracking. It will be the first Wear OS watch with Fitbit integration, giving users access to Fitbit’s excellent metrics and stats, such as: B. Active Zone Minutes. Owners can also take advantage of the newly announced Heath Connect APIs, which enable interconnectivity between various fitness tracking apps such as Google Fit, Fitbit and Samsung Health.
However, the Fitbit app will still co-exist alongside the Google Fit app. Google says it doesn’t want to “break the experience for either group of users” by merging them into one group or ending them.
Like other smartwatches on the market, the Pixel Watch should pack a variety of health-related sensors, including a gyroscope, accelerometer, and heart-rate monitor. It will also reportedly be able to track SpO2 levels and take ECG readings.
Google Pixel Watch: Wear OS improvements and Google Assistant
Regarding Wear OS, Rick Osterloh explained during the keynote that the Pixel Watch should come with an improved user interface with smoother navigation and smarter notifications. He also mentioned that the new UI is designed to be tappable, voice-controlled and peekable, without going into detail on what exactly we can expect.
It’s clear that Google wants to use its smartwatch as a hero device to showcase new features. And that’s important, because the Pixel Watch needs to be Android’s Apple Watch to be successful.
Rick Osterloh also showed how you can use the on-watch assistant to get things done. In a video demonstration, we can see a user asking the assistant for the weather forecast, with the animated clock quickly responding with a card giving out this information.
The Galaxy Watch4 recently gained access to Google Assistant, and we think the experience on Google’s smartwatch shouldn’t be too different. In our Google Assistant for Galaxy Watch4 review, we found that it was awesome to use while it worked. The experience should also be less buggy than the Watch4, where users experienced poor battery life and connectivity issues.
Google Maps also appeared on the scene, with Rick Osterloh describing how an LTE-connected version of the Pixel Watch can give you directions even when you’re out and about without your phone. This is especially useful for those who prefer to walk or ride a bike. The new Google Wallet will also be integrated into the watch, so you can pay without taking your physical wallet with you.
The Pixel Watch should run on a newer version of Wear OS than the Galaxy Watch4. Samsung is already testing Wear OS 3.5 on its smartwatch with the One UI 4.5 beta, so expect Google’s wearable to launch with at least Wear OS 3.5 or even 4.0.
Google apparently intends to offer a separate Pixel Watch app to set up and manage some features of its wearable. It’s currently unclear if you’ll also need the Wear OS app, which most Android smartwatches traditionally connect to.
Google Pixel Watch: chipset and battery life
Initial rumors suggested that Google could use a Tensor-branded chip based on the 5nm Exynos W920 SoC found in the Galaxy Watch4. Apparently that won’t be the case. A report suggests that the Pixel Watch will be powered by Samsung’s four-year-old chip. The Exynos 9110 first debuted in 2018 on the original Tizen-based Galaxy Watch. It is manufactured on the 10nm process node and features two Cortex-A53 cores. That doesn’t bode well for the wearable’s performance and battery life, but the big G might have an ace up its sleeve.
Another report says that Google will pair the Exynos 9110 SoC with a co-processor to take some of the load off the power-hungry main chip. This should help battery life to some extent, but even then the watch’s 300mAh battery will apparently be good enough to only last “up to” a day. Charging the wearable’s battery will be another issue, as the USB-C charger takes around two hours to fully charge. There will be no fast loading support whatsoever. That’s slower than the Apple Watch Series 7, which can go from 0 to 80% in 45 minutes.
Google is not expected to skimp on the RAM and storage part. The Pixel Watch will reportedly come with 32GB of storage – double that of the Galaxy Watch4. RAM will be more than 1.5 GB, but the exact figure is not known.
Google Pixel Watch: price and release date
There have been conflicting reports on the Pixel Watch’s release date, but Google has finally revealed that it will be out in the fall, potentially alongside the Pixel 7.
You can view the Pixel Watch on the Google Store, where you can see some more images and sign up to get news about it straight to your inbox. There’s no word on pricing just yet, but don’t expect the Pixel Watch to be cheap. We could see a price similar to the $250 price tag the Galaxy Watch4 sported when it launched, although LTE variants could cost even more – a price point of up to $400 could be quite realistic for these.
Given Google’s recent habit of only launching its Pixel products in a handful of markets, don’t expect the watch to be available in all major markets worldwide.
Google Pixel Watch: Fit Edition?
There could be more than one version of the Pixel Watch, with a new name “Pixel Watch Fit” floating around in rumors, but we don’t know the specifics just yet. Presumably, this Fit device is said to be priced at around $400. The leak isn’t clear if this is the same device that was showcased on stage at I/O or not.
For what it’s worth, the Pixel Watch Fit name has been confirmed by two independent leakers, so there might be something to it. It’s possible that it’s a differently functioning but otherwise identical-looking version of the watch, perhaps with more tracking capabilities or with a lower price tag.
Google laid a solid foundation for the Wear OS comeback by merging it with Tizen. The platform now needs a great Android smartwatch to show its full capabilities to make it a success. Therefore, it is important that the Pixel Watch meets all the important aspects.