What you need to know
- A new report claims that Google scrapped plans for a smartwatch back in 2016.
- It's noted that the watch had syncing issues and other performance hiccups.
- A fabled "Pixel Watch" will not be released this year alongside the Pixel 4.
Ever since rumors started circulating about the original Google Pixel, a hype train for a possible "Pixel Watch" started moving along at full steam. Google's 2016 hardware event came along, and no Pixel Watch was released. 2017 wasn't the year of the Pixel Watch either. For a while, it was looking like 2018 would be the year Google finally launched a self-branded Wear OS watch, but that dream was also shot down.
The saga continued with a claim this past February saying that the Pixel Watch would actually come out in 2019, but now, that's also being countered. Thanks to a report from Business Insider, Google is not launching a Pixel Watch this year alongside the Pixel 4. In fact, Google gave up on making its own Wear OS watch a long time ago.
Per this report, Google was working on a smartwatch for the Pixel series, but the project was ultimately canceled in 2016 leading up to the company's first big Pixel hardware event. Rick Osterloh, Google's Senior Vice President of Hardware, was the one responsible for shuttering the smartwatch endeavor.
It's noted that Google's watch had issues syncing with phones, with one former employee saying it "didn't work that great." Furthermore, the report goes on to say:
[Osterloh did not] want a peripheral product to bring down the name of the Google hardware brand.
In other words, Osterloh deemed Wear OS to be too much of a dumpster fire to put the company's new Pixel branding on it. And, honestly, you can't blame him for that decision. Wear OS had its fair share of problems back in 2016, and many of those continue to persist here in late-2019.
Business Insider says that Google's plans for a smartwatch were "salvaged," with the alternative being the LG Watch Style and Watch Sport that launched a few months following the Pixel's release in February 2017.
While it is possible that Google could change its mind down the road and end releasing a Pixel Watch at some point, that doesn't seem very likely. Fossil has proven with its Gen 5 Smartwatch that you can craft a decent wearable out of Wear OS, but the platform as a whole likely needs to see a major revamp before Google feels confident enough to include it in the Pixel family.
As good as it gets
Don't wait for a Pixel Watch — get this instead.
We may not get a Pixel Watch anytime soon, but that's OK. The Fossil Gen 5 is one heck of a smartwatch, and you can buy it right now. It's got a crisp AMOLED display, surprisingly good performance, and ships with a speaker for spoken Google Assistant responses and on-watch phone calls.
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