A Pixel Watch, if that's what Google actually calls its smartwatch, is faced with the somewhat Herculean task of resurrecting the company's reputation in the wearables realm. Wear OS has languished in recent years in part due to the lack of a solid processor from Qualcomm to power these watches and Google's rudderless management of the platform.
Wear OS has recovered slightly over the last year with visual and feature updates combined with a partnership announced with Samsung at Google I/O. This all gave renewed interest and much-needed market share for the platform, but the Galaxy Watch 4 alone can't keep Wear OS alive.
Here's a look at everything that we know so far regarding the Pixel Watch including the expected release date, pricing, specs and more.
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Pixel Watch: Price and availability
The majority of the information available at present originates from a significant leak revealed by Jon Prosser, which included a projected release date of October 2021, presumably alongside the Pixel 6. Obviously, that part of the rumor proved to be incorrect, but it's worth noting Prosser always stated uncertainty regarding that timeframe.
Ahead of the October Pixel event, Prosser indicated, "Last I heard, it was delayed until Q1 2022." In early December an extensive report from Insider also claimed the Pixel Watch would arrive in 2022, but didn't offer more specific timing. Given the product seems to have been near release late last year it seems likely it would arrive by Google I/O in May at the latest, but that is purely speculation.
Pixel Watch Don’t expect it at the event tomorrow. Last I heard, it was delayed until Q1 2022.It’s still happening, just not tomorrow. https://t.co/Rd0dGN3yekOctober 18, 2021
We have no official information regarding pricing yet of course, but the Insider report claimed it would be closer to Apple Watch pricing than Fitbit. That suggests a starting price of anywhere from $299 to $399. Some rumors have suggested three variants of the Pixel Watch including one with 4G LTE connectivity, which would open it up to a wider price range.
Given the Apple Watch SE's $279 starting price and Google's lack of standing in this market, the expectation is that it will start at the lower end of that range. However, it's possible Google views the budget wearable realm as the place for its Fitbit offerings. Google indicated at Google I/O Fitbit hardware running the new Wear OS is coming, but we have no definite rumors on that timing yet.
Pixel Watch: Design
The images we have so far are renders created by @rendersbyian in cooperation with Jon Prosser. They are based on alleged images and marketing materials that Prosser received in the aforementioned leak. The Insider report essentially mirrored Prosser's design claims, so while the images are limited, they are highly credible.
According to Prosser's sources, Google is unsurprisingly going with a rounded watch design, this is a major differentiating factor from the Apple Watch which appears permanently locked to its rounded rectangle shape. However, it does take one design cue from the Apple Watch with its digital crown on the right side of the watch.
The rounded design is hardly unique. But it does manage to bring a new look to that design with a bezel-less curved glass display that meets the curved underside of the watch at the attachment point for the digital crown.
The body of the watch looks incredibly thin in the renders, but no measurements were offered. This carries over to the face size, the Apple Watch currently comes in 40mm or 44mm, it's unclear if there will be multiple sizes available here and if so what those sizes are.
It seems there are two color options for the body of the watch, silver and black. The digital crown is then colored to match with the silver model having a white center to the crown. The band depicted in the renders appears to be silicon with a clasp that locks into an internal set of ridges. This is apparently one of roughly 20 band designs.
Pixel Watch: Features
Here things get much more uncertain. The rumors to date have had almost nothing to say about specific hardware features beyond the design. Returning again to the Prosser leak, he speculated that this could be running on some form of Google's silicon like the Pixel 6, but he did not seem confident of that. That would leave the Snapdragon Wear 4100 as the only real option.
From a software standpoint, this will be running Wear OS, so we can expect all of those basics. However, the forthcoming Wear OS will bring new glanceable tiles to the interface along with some other new features. The Insider report added that it would feature Fitbit integration, but didn't have any details on it. Droid Life spotted a survey from Google back in February asking users to gauge interest in a couple of dozen health and fitness features for wearables, so it seems clear fitness is going to get a stronger push with this wearable.
The Pixel Watch looks amazing in the renders, but we definitely need more leaks to help complete the picture. Google also faces stiff competition now with the Galaxy Watch 4 and Galaxy Watch 4 Classic quickly becoming the most popular Wear OS devices in years.
The Snapdragon 4100 believed to be in the Pixel Watch was announced in June of 2020, but we are just now starting to get smartwatches using it. We need time to see whether it lives up to the hype after four years without any meaningful new processors for Wear OS. The rest will likely have to wait until we get our hands on the Pixel Watch. Google has proven with its Pixel phones that it is capable of an impressive melding of hardware and software, but it needs to prove itself when it comes to wearables.