After years of toying with smartwatch hardware, it seems that Google will finally launch a Pixel Watch in 2022. Leaks and rumors suggest that the Pixel Watch will sport a unique design, and it may even integrate with Fitbit services. Here’s everything we know so far.
Broad Details: Release Date and Pricing
We’ve seen a ton of conflicting reports about the Pixel Watch’s release date. Last year, leakers claimed the device would launch alongside Google’s Pixel 6a smartphone in May of 2022. But more recent reports, including one from Jon Prosser, state that Google will simply “tease” its smartwatch during the I/O conference on May 11th.
Our best guess for a Pixel Watch release comes from Jon Prosser. He claims that Google will debut the smartwatch during the Pixel 7 launch this October. But Google recently added a smartwatch section to its webstore, indicating an earlier release than what Prosser suggests—it’s a mess, to say the least.
Pricing for the Pixel Watch is also a mystery. Still, we can speculate a bit. Because Google owns Fitbit, it will probably avoid placing the Pixel Watch in the same price category as Fitbit products. That means it could cost more than the $200 Fitbit Sense.
At the same time, Google will probably try to undercut the competition. That’s what it did with the Pixel 6, which turned out to be a smash hit when compared with previous Google hardware. Since the cheapest Apple Watch Series 7 costs $400, it’s safe to guess that the Pixel Watch costs between $250 and $350.
Bear in mind that we haven’t found any reliable leaks or rumors related to Pixel Watch pricing. The device could easily cost more or less than what we’re predicting.
Design: A Rounded, Minimalist Smartwatch
Samsung’s smartwatches look “analog,” the Apple Watch looks like a tiny iPad, and the Pixel Watch looks kind of like a futuristic Casio. Leaked images and renders indicate that the Pixel Watch is incredibly thin and sports a rounded, curved display with a small control dial and an interchangeable wristband.
Most Pixel Watch design leaks come from Front Page Tech, which has published “official” images of the smartwatch and mockup renders based on leaks. (These unofficial renders help protect sources within Google.) A recent leak from 91mobiles, which purportedly shows an official render of the device’s watch face, seems to confirm Front Page Tech’s previous leaks.
One notable thing about the Pixel Watch design is its UI. We’re used to seeing flashy, colorful screens on smartwatches, but all renders of the Pixel watch show a simple, two-toned UI with various color options. While this product almost certainly uses an OLED display, it seems that Google is aiming for a very minimalist design (or a minimalist selection of watch faces, at the very least).
And like other smartwatches, the Pixel Watch seems to employ a variety of watch faces. Some renders show an analog-like watch face, while others show a watch face with health and fitness metrics. The leaked watch face from 91mobiles also seems to contain a Fitbit shortcut.
Spec Talk: Powered By Samsung?
Information in the Wear OS 3 emulator indicates that the Pixel Watch runs on a Samsung processor, not Snapdragon chip. This is likely due to the fact that Wear OS 3 is already optimized for Samsung’s Exynos platform, and of course, Snapdragon smartwatch chips are years behind in terms of processing power and power efficiency.
For branding reasons, Google could call the Exynos processor a “Tensor” chip. But as Max Weinbach explains, it will probably be a modified version of the 5nm Exynos W920 that Samsung used in its Galaxy Watch 4.
This Exynos processor should enable “next-gen Google Assistant” on the Pixel Watch, according to 9to5Google. It sounds fancy, but it’s just the faster version of Assistant that first debuted on Google’s Pixel 4 smartphone. (Other performance details are unknown.)
Interestingly, the Pixel Watch 4 could use 32GB of internal storage for offline music and other data. That would make it the most storage-rich Wear OS device on the market. For reference, the Galaxy Watch 4 contains just 16GB of storage.
Leaks and rumors haven’t revealed any other Pixel Watch specs. We don’t know the device’s IP rating, battery size, display size or resolution, or weight. And while Google will probably offer the smartwatch with LTE connectivity (at a higher price), this is just speculation.
Software: A “Pure” Wear OS With a Touch of Fitbit
This shouldn’t be much of a surprise—the Pixel Watch will run Wear OS 3. But this is notable for a few reasons. First, we haven’t seen a “pure” version of Wear OS 3, as Samsung went pretty heavy-handed with the Galaxy Watch 4’s software. And second, Google will probably add some exclusive features to the Pixel Watch.
We expect the Pixel Watch to feature a step counter, a heart rate monitor, and all the other stuff you expect from a good smartwatch. But the Pixel Watch may also contain some Fitbit technologies, as suggested by the 91mobiles leak.
We’re not sure how Fitbit integration would work on the Pixel Watch. That said, Google plans to bring Fitbit features to the Nest Hub in 2023, which seems to suggest that Fitbit will become an overarching service for several Google products.
It’s clear that the Pixel Watch is a unique, interesting product. It will be the first smartwatch to run a “pure” version of Wear OS 3, and it may integrate with Fitbit for health and fitness tracking across multiple devices. Unfortunately, we’re not sure when Pixel Watch will launch or how much it will cost.
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