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The Pixel Watch might already be outdated, reportedly using a 4-year-old processor

Google Pixel Watch Google Maps
(Image credit: Google)

What you need to know

  • A report from 9to5Google claims the Pixel Watch is powered by a four-year-old processor. 
  • The chipset in question was released in 2018, alongside the original Galaxy Watch.
  • There's still no indication as to what this means for compatibility with currently available Wear OS smartwatches.

We knew there had to be a catch with the Pixel Watch. Google’s unveiling of its first in-house smartwatch made waves following leaks we’ve provided, and there are some pretty high hopes for the device. 

Leave it to leaks to pour some rain on our parade, as 9to5Google reports that the Pixel Watch likely won’t be using a custom-designed Tensor SoC or even Samsung’s latest Exynos W920 processor. Instead, the source states that the Pixel Watch is powered by Samsung’s Exynos 9110 chipset, which first debuted in 2018 alongside the original Galaxy Watch

Since then, the 9110 processor has been included in some of the best Android smartwatches over the past few years. This includes the Galaxy Watch Active 2 from 2019 and the Galaxy Watch 3, which was eventually replaced by last year’s Galaxy Watch 4 and Watch 4 Classic

As suggested by this report, the reason for this decision from Google could be due to how long the Pixel Watch has been in development. Google is said to have been working on the Pixel Watch for a few years, likely starting the project “when the 9110 was new,” thus likely unable to take advantage of these newer processors. 

What makes this somewhat problematic is that it's not 100% clear which current Wear OS watches will support Wear OS 3. Shortly after Google I/O 2021 concluded, Qualcomm jumped the gun a bit, confirming that any smartwatch powered by the Snapdragon Wear 3100 and higher would be able to run Wear OS 3. However, Google has since suggested that Wear OS will only be supported on devices powered by Qualcomm's latest chipset.

Naturally, the first thought could be that Google was trying to shut down the idea of older chipsets being compatible with the new frameworks. But if this new report turns out to be true, Google could end up in some hot water for using a chipset that’s even older than Qualcomm’s current-generation wearable SoC. Especially after leaving third-party watchmakers out of the loop for the past year, still with no mention of when we'll get the update on current devices.

Google wasn't immediately available to comment on the rumor, but we still have at least a few months to go before we get a full announcement. And if this older SoC is at the helm, it might be tough for Google's first smartwatch to stand above the Galaxy Watch 4, let alone a potential Galaxy Watch 5.

Andrew Myrick
Senior Editor - Chromebooks, tablets, and wearables

Andrew Myrick is a Senior Editor at Android Central. He enjoys everything to do with technology, including tablets, smartphones, and everything in between. Perhaps his favorite past-time is collecting different headphones, even if they all end up in the same drawer.