From the beginning of Google's wearable strategy, it has always relied on other OEMs to carry the hardware torch for its software. However, that doesn't mean fans of Wear OS, and Android Wear before it, haven't been clamoring for an official smartwatch from the software giant.
After years of rumors for a Google-branded wearable that always ended in disappointment for Wear OS fans, 2021 looks to be the year that a Google Pixel Watch may actually arrive alongside the Pixel 6 lineup. Here's what we know so far about the Pixel Watch.
Pixel Watch: Announcement and release date
As of right now, we don't have anything official from Google in terms of a Pixel Watch being released this year. However, far more leaks and information have pointed toward this being the year a Google-branded smartwatch will arrive, alongside the Pixel 6. So while there's no official Pixel Watch release date either, we can follow the bread crumbs of previous Google hardware announcements — and recent Pixel 6 leaks — to get a good idea of when.
In the past, Google has held its Pixel launch events in the fall, most often in October. For example, the Pixel 5 announcement was earliest on September 30, though it didn't officially ship until weeks later. You can be sure the Pixel 6 event will take place soon, and the only question is whether the Pixel Watch will appear at the same time and what Google has cooked up for it.
When will the smartwatch be released? That question is a bit more cloudy in terms of what we know. Taking the same approach to the release date as we are for announcement timing, should the Pixel Watch be announced at the same event, sales likely begin a couple of weeks after its unveiling — most likely sometime in late October or early November. This is the cycle Google followed with most of its past Pixel devices, and fingers-crossed, we get a quick turn-around this year.
Pixel Watch: Price
Cost is something else that is largely up in the air for the anticipated Pixel Watch. Since this is Google's first foray into making its own smartwatch, we can only speculate at this stage. Google could take a midrange approach for the Pixel Watch, similar to what it did with the Pixel 5 last year. But most information suggests the Pixel 6 will be the first true premium Pixel. It makes much more sense that the Pixel Watch will also be priced as a high-quality or luxury device.
Samsung showed off the first Wear OS watches with the Galaxy Watch 4 series — and those are certainly not mid-range products. Galaxy Watches and Apple Watches tend to fall in the $250 to $400 range, with Apple's watches on the higher side. We wouldn't be surprised if the Pixel Watch also falls within that range. Google can use its Fitbit brand instead to target budget shoppers.
Pixel Watch: Models
To this point in time, we haven't seen much to suggest that Google is planning multiple models of the Pixel Watch. Unlike Samsung — which has traditionally offered multiple options and currently sells the Galaxy Watch 4 and 4 Classic — it seems that only a single model of the Pixel Watch is on the way.
Pixel Watch: Design
While we don't expect to see more than a single model of the Pixel Watch, if leaks are true, we may get more than one color choice, but only a single design. Earlier this year, renders of the Pixel Watch were leaked to give us a glimpse of the rumored smartwatch.
As you can see in the images, the watch sports a very minimalist design, with hardly any bezels to speak of. It also looks like Google will go with a single button; hopefully, it's a rotating crown. As for color options for the watch case, it seems as though there will be both a black and silver choice for users.
One of the things that stands out about this design is the watch strap and how it attaches to the watch. The renders show the band going directly into the watch case, and while that looks nice, it will make swapping out watch bands extremely difficult.
We hope that since these images are leaked renders and not official, the final Pixel Watch design will employ a more universal watch strap attachment strategy, like many of the other top Android smartwatches we have today.
Pixel Watch: Specs and software
Information regarding the specs for the rumored Google Pixel Watch is thin at the moment, but we have some pretty solid ideas of what to expect in terms of the software. As mentioned above, Samsung has released its first Wear OS watch. This is largely because Google and Samsung have co-developed a new OS.
Wear OS 3.0 is bringing many improvements to the smartwatch platform. Apps seem to open faster. According to Google, that difference from before is up to 30% faster. Wear OS 3 is getting a refreshed UI and more customization options, a task switcher, and many more updates. As for how the UI will look on a Pixel Watch is still to be determined since what we have on the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 series is a custom skin known as One UI Watch. Regardless of what the interface on a Pixel Watch looks like, all of these software changes will breathe new life into the once stagnant operating system.
As for hardware specs, there is very little known. The watch size, weight, battery capacity, and other specifications are still shrouded in secrecy. However, Google announced it would be using its first custom-made processor, the Tensor chip, in the upcoming Pixel 6 phones, and it's rumored that a version for wearable may show up in the Pixel Watch. This would be a welcomed change from previous Wear OS watches that have used Qualcomm processors, even though watches like the TicWatch Pro 3 using its Snapdragon 4100 perform quite well — a new OS and new chipset would be a perfect match.