A smartwatch from Google seems like a no brainer considering so many Apple Watch rivals on the market run on the firm's Wear OS. Here we take a look at the possible Pixel Watch release details and hardware.
So why has Google never turned its hand to an own-brand smartwatch? It's a great question with no simple answer but there are signs that, after all this time, one might finally be coming to market.
When does the Pixel Watch launch?
A bit like the OnePlus Watch (which is finally a reality), it feels like we've been waiting forever for Google to release an own-brand smartwatch.
It was way back in 2018 when it was confirmed that Google was definitely working on a Pixel Watch but in an interview with Tom's Guide, Google's director of engineering for Wear OS, Miles Barr, said it wasn't quite ready for primetime just yet.
Barr told the site, "to think of a one-size-fits-all watch, I don't think we're there yet. Our focus is on our partners for now."
That clearly went further than the back-burner but Pixel Watch leaks that emerged in April pointed to a launch sooner, rather than later. Jon Prosser might normally report on Apple leaks but shared an image of the supposed Pixel Watch, showing an extreme closeup of the watch face, with a physical crown in the background.
Since this initial leak, Prosser has posted a fairly substantial follow-up, featuring the Pixel Watch (see below). Codenamed 'rohan' internally, it's expected to arrive "sometime in October" but it may be pushed back.
It seems that is the case as although iDropNews writer Angel Alexiander predicted the Pixel Watch, Pixel Fold and new Nest speakers at the October Pixel 6 launch, that didn't happen. The event was only for Google's new flagship phones so it seems Max Winebach was right.
Pixel Watch was likely delayed btw— Max Weinbach (@MaxWinebach) October 11, 2021
Like 6 months ago I was told it was coming but could be delayed based on chip availability. I'm assuming it's getting delayed because of chips. Could be announced next week with later release, could be announced next year. Who knows.
A post issued to Google's Wear OS support forums in late July, suggested that with regards to Wear OS 3 – which the Pixel Watch is expected to run from the get-go – Google will "roll out the system update starting in mid to second half of 2022."
If the Pixel Watch were to launch on Google's overhauled Wear OS 3 user experience, then this post suggests that the timepiece won't arrive until the software does (Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 notwithstanding), later into next year.
What are the Pixel Watch's specifications?
Previous rumours included murmurings of three different models, 1GB of RAM and support for 4G LTE on one of the variants.
Although Prosser didn't have details on the specs, he did put out some renders, based on images sent to him (against the sender's wishes). However, the renders by Ian Zelbo modelled after said pictures – which Prosser said are some of the best he's ever seen – show a possible Pixel Watch design and also hint at some specs.
It really does look stunning, with a completely circular screen (no flat tyre section, like some older watches), plus minimal bezel; with marketing materials describing it as "round bezel-less, bringing unity to software and hardware".
We can also see a crown and – on the opposite side – what looks like a small hole for a microphone, along with a slit, likely for a speaker. While it looks incredibly thin, Zelbo replied to a comment on Twitter saying "It looks to be the same thickness as the Apple Watch but the angles I chose make it thinner than it is (like all marketing material)."
The images also appear to show a proprietary strap system that slides in and out from the side (similar to the Apple Watch) and a silicone strap with ridges on the inside to allow a sort of locking system. The source says there will be around 20 different bands.
Prosser says that it's often just the hardware that's real but here the software is also based on the real thing with "WearOS getting a facelift" so that watch face is likely an official one. The official marketing contains things like "Your world at a glance", "Your health at a glance" and "Your agenda at a glance".
On the subject of Wear OS, during Google I/O 2021, Google and Samsung announced an official partnership to combine Wear OS and Tizen OS into a single platform, boasting improved performance (up to 30% faster app load times), better battery longevity and new functionality, including Fitbit-powered fitness and wellness capabilities.
An official name wasn't mentioned at I/O or by Google's or Samsung's press releases on the subject but "Wear" seemed to be a working title and "Wear OS 3" (the full explainer of which we linked to earlier in this feature) is now locked it as the official name, based on the official Google help forum post about updates to existing Wear OS watches.
We don't get to see the back of the Pixel Watch but it will have a heart rate monitor and, presumably, wireless charging, like its rivals.
We'll have to wait for some specs like screen size, resolution and what connectivity the Pixel Watch will offer but Prosser says "it might be fair to assume that this might be part of Google's in house silicon."
You can see the full video with animated renders here:
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