Google's Pixel Pass should have included the Pixel Watch and Pixel 7
A big missed opportunity.
Last year, Google debuted its new Pixel Pass program, which is a subscription service designed to give new Pixel owners access to all of Google's best apps and services. Included in Pixel Pass, you'll get 200GB of Google One storage, YouTube Premium, YouTube Music Premium, and Google Play Pass. All of this is combined with the cost of whatever Pixel you want, bundling it together as a supercharged monthly subscription.
Now that the Pixel 7 lineup and Pixel Watch have been announced, you can already sign up for the Pixel Pass with the Pixel 7 or Pixel 7 Pro. But I really feel as though Google missed out on an excellent opportunity to try and get the Pixel Watch onto the wrists of as many users as possible.
Breaking down Pixel Pass
When you look at the price of purchasing the Pixel 7 and Pixel Watch, it starts at $599 for the 128GB phone, and $349 for the non-LTE Watch. That's about $950, before tax, and of course, the price only goes up as you either increase the Pixel 7's storage or move over to the Pixel 7 Pro. Plus, there's an LTE-enabled version of the Pixel Watch priced at $399, and that's without picking up any extra watch bands. Then, there's the monthly cost for each of Google's subscriptions, and before you know it, your wallet might be cursing you up and down.
As it currently stands with Pixel Pass, the Pixel 7 can be had for $45 per month, saving you "up to $176 over two years," while the Pixel 7 Pro comes in at $55 per month for a savings of "up to $294 over two years." While this "subscription" isn't the most affordable option for some, there was definitely a window for Google to include the Pixel Watch in the bundle. Simply breaking up the Watch payments over the course of 24 months would result in about an extra $15 per month.
It could have been "Pixel Pass Plus"
There are two trains of thought here. The first of which is that not everyone will want to shell out $950 at once to get a phone and a smartwatch. Bundling everything together in the Pixel Pass, while still including the likes of YouTube Premium and extra Google One storage feels like a no-brainer. All of your services and the cost of the phone and watch would all come on a single monthly bill, without needing to sign up for an awful carrier contract that locks you in. And Google makes it easy to upgrade after two years, similar to Apple's iPhone Upgrade Program.
Secondly, and perhaps even more importantly, is getting the Pixel Watch into the hands of everyone. It's well-known that the smartwatch market is dominated by Samsung's Galaxy Watch and the Apple Watch. But if Google wants to make a serious play, which it looks as though it does from the $349 price tag, the company should have made it more accessible. Yes, there are subsidies through carriers, but that only applies to the LTE version of the Pixel Watch.
It's pretty obvious, from the start, that Google is trying to lean on Fitbit's recognition amongst the best smartwatches and fitness trackers to help get this product launch off the ground. And that's really the right move, as you get access to the best features that Fitbit has to offer, along with the included 6-months of Fitbit Premium for free.
And that leads us to something else that could be included in the Pixel Pass. Imagine if Google introduced a "Pixel Pass Plus," which includes the following:
- Pixel 7 or Pixel 7 Pro
- Pixel Watch
- 200GB of Google One cloud storage
- Preferred Care
- YouTube Premium
- YouTube Music Premium
- Google Play Pass
- Fitbit Premium
Realistically, all of this could be bundled into a subscription for less than $100 per month, giving you one of the best Android phones, what we expect to be one of the best Android smartwatches, and access to Google's services.
Is it too late?
With the above scenario, you also wouldn't have to worry about making a decision about whether you should sign up for Fitbit Premium after six months, as it will just be included in the bundle. Google could even go so far as to drop the cost of the subscription down for six months to give users the free Fitbit Premium.
During the launch event, Google leaned hard into the Fitbit integration and everything that Pixel Watch owners will enjoy. But it could've taken less time to spoil the fun of the Pixel Tablet, and leaned even further into this by explaining why combining the Pixel 7, Watch, and Fitbit Premium would be such a great decision.
Unfortunately, that didn't happen, and we can't help but feel like Google might have fumbled one of the most important device launches of the year. And when the sales reports start rolling out over the next few months, we won't be surprised if this ends up being the first, and last, Pixel Watch.
The first Google Watch
If you are looking for the perfect smartwatch to pair with your Pixel 7, the Pixel Watch is definitely it. From its beautiful design to all of the different watch bands, the Pixel Watch hits just about all the marks.
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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.