An Unconfirmed Rumor Has Me Excited for Google’s New Pixel Watch

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Photo: Victoria Song – Next year, Google may release its first-ever in-house wearable, but will Android customers be let down once again? A decade ago, I was on the sidelines of an entire product category, waiting for a wearable that could compete with the Apple Watch. If you’re looking for a smartwatch that’s better than your current watch, you’re going to be disappointed. In the wake of each setback, aspirations for an Apple Watch competitor were dwindling, and Google seemed to have lost interest in its own platform.

There is now a cause to be optimistic again. Google just woke up from its sleep and teamed with Samsung, whose Galaxy smartwatches have traditionally been the top alternatives for non-iPhone consumers, to produce Wear OS 3. We were among those who hailed the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 as the “first excellent Android wristwatch” when it debuted in March of this year. In recent months, sales of the watch have helped Android gain market share in wearable devices.

There will be a long-awaited launch of Google’s Pixel Watch to capitalise on this momentum. In fact, it will be a Pixel Watch rather than a Fitbit one, as had been speculated after Google’s purchase of Fitbit in 2017. I’m not getting my expectations up too high, but everything I’ve seen so far indicates that Google’s first wristwatch may soon be a tan line on my left wrist.

Jon Prosser, a leaker who claims to have obtained official advertising images for the game, has shared them on his YouTube channel. These leaked marketing materials reveal photographs of the suspected Google Pixel Watch, matching prior renderings from the same sources.

Image: Jon Prosser @ Front Page Tech/YouTube

Is this what we’re looking at? If so, we can expect a basic circular design with an almost bezel-free watch face that seems to slide away at its edges. There is a large crown on the right side for physical control. These models show that the Pixel Watch is noticeably thinner than the Apple Watch, which seems to be somewhat bulky.

It seems to be of the highest quality. If you’re not a fan of the watch’s minimalist style, don’t worry: It’s so tiny that you won’t even notice it when working out. As a bonus, the Wear OS 3 interface has a real dial instead of swiping around such a small display.

Leaked marketing slides illustrate what you can do with Google’s smartwatch, including getting directions on Google Maps, monitoring your health data, and answering phone calls.

In the wake of the Pixel 6’s triumph, I’d given up on the Pixel Watch rumors as a way to protect myself from additional grief, but I’ve come to believe in Google again thanks to the Pixel 6. (raise your hands, Pixel 5 owners). Keep in mind that Google’s initial Pixel phone shook up the smartphone market; now it has the chance to do so again with the Pixel Watch.

However, I must pause for a while since there are still too many missing parts in this jigsaw for me to go at full speed. The Pixel Watch’s positioning as an Apple Watch competition or a fitness-focused wearable similar to Fitbit is still a mystery, as are the components responsible for offering a seamless user experience (something past Android watches have struggled with).

In addition, I’m concerned about the watch’s battery life, which is the Achilles’ heel of almost all wearables. Smartwatches that have batteries that aren’t large enough to last a whole day are doomed from the start. A few additional millimeters of thickness wouldn’t bother me if it meant that the wearable would last through day two. Many Android watches have been doomed by low battery life, and the diminutive design depicted in this newest leak makes me uneasy.

Users of Android are supposed to be able to set their analog watches for the final time in 2022, when Google is expected to launch its Pixel Watch.