A Pixel Watch from Google has a 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 itself has been turning this around over the last several months with visual and feature updates and it is due another major update, perhaps at Google I/O 2021, that lends further credence to the rumors surrounding the Pixel Watch.
Here's a look at everything that we know so far regarding the Pixel Watch including the expected release date, pricing, specs and more.
- Pixel 5a: Price, release date, specs and more
- Casio's first G-Shock smartwatch with Wear OS is coming — it's not going to be cheap
- Best mobile phone deals in April 2021
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. Prosser was quick to add caveats that this could be pushed back for a variety of reasons, but this would certainly be a perfect pairing for Google's re-entry into the flagship phone space.
Unfortunately, we have no official or leaked information regarding pricing yet. From the fit and finish of the watch, it certainly would seem like this is going to be a high-end offering, which would suggest a starting price of anywhere from $299 to $399. Given the Apple Watch SE's $279 starting price and Google's lack of standing in this market, the lower side of that range seems more likely.
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. According to his 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.
From a software standpoint, this will be running Wear OS, so we can expect all of those basics. However, we are due for a significant update to Wear OS soon that will bring some new glanceable tiles to the interface along with some other new features.
Whether Google has yet another update planned in time for the launch of the Pixel Watch is unclear at this point. Google's obviously extremely preliminary marketing materials that were a part of the leak included numerous references to various types of information "at a glance." This should give rise to some hope that Google has realized it has overcomplicated Wear OS and will be scaling back, we certainly saw some evidence of this with the August 2020 update.
The Pixel Watch looks amazing in the renders that we have seen so far, but we definitely more leaks to help complete the picture. Some of this could be resolved with the forthcoming spring Wear OS update, but there will be lingering questions like what is powering the Pixel Watch.
The Snapdragon 4100 was announced in June of 2020, but we are just now starting to get smartwatches using it, so 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, we've seen with the Pixel phones that Google is capable of an impressive melding of hardware and software, but it needs to prove itself when it comes to wearables.