I haven't been so excited about a tech announcement in a really long time, and that speaks volumes.
Earlier this month, Google announced its Pixel Watch — the first smartwatch in its lineup of hardware devices, and I can't express to you how excited I was…and how excited the announcement made me feel.
I know this might sound weird, but I really wanted to dig deeper into my feeling about this. Because, as you know (hi Twitter trolls!) I am an Apple user. My primary phone and watch are Apple, and I have a whole other editorial planned about how it doesn't matter that these are the products I use despite writing for Android Central.
But what is most unique is that for the better part of a decade, I have been so accustomed to seeing how Google has failed at an ecosystem and how successful Apple has been. I have been so accustomed to thinking that anything Google announces isn't really…exciting.
For the first time in over a decade, I can say that I have never been so incredibly excited about a smartwatch and, accompanying it, an incredibly gorgeous smartphone.
I'm speaking about this from purely a design perspective. The Pixel Watch, in my opinion, is one of the most gorgeous Android smartwatches that I have seen in a long time.
Not only is it sleek and sexy, but it, quite honestly, literally is the Apple Watch version of an Android Watch.
I was curious as to why I was feeling so excited about something. Perhaps it is because Apple really hasn't made a major change in its Apple Watch design after eight iterations. The only real change is with its Apple Watch Ultra…and let's be real, that watch is really catered to the pro athlete.
If the watch dies, I would wear this watch
There's this notion that Apple has created a lifestyle brand and that if you were wearing an Apple Watch and it dies, then users will still continue wearing it. Because it is a fashion statement.
And I genuinely believe that the Pixel Watch has finally achieved that notion. Jitesh Ubrani, research manager for IDC's worldwide device tracker, agrees.
"While I had not thought of this, I absolutely agree," he says. "The potential of the Pixel Watch to be a fashion statement or conversation starter is beyond that of any other smartwatch."
And in terms of design, I think this watch is absolutely stunning, even for women, which has been a letdown space for the smartwatch industry for a while.
Former AC staff writer Ara Wagoner wrote back in January that the problem we have been having for the past five years is the same problem we’ve been facing for so many years — manufacturers don’t see a way to reduce bulk enough for a small, lightweight smartwatch without sacrificing features.
I don’t necessarily think you need to have a super small watch, but the fact is that Google purposefully decided only to have one size for this watch.
And that size caters to women and men, but in general, people who really like fashion.
This watch is going to open up new avenues
Whether or not you like that, I am obsessed with how this watch looks, I’m taking this solely from the perspective of the external appearance and not what is available on the inside, as in the software or hardware.
And honestly, I think part of the reason why I’m so excited is that not only is it Google’s first “new” product in a long time, but because this product has been “long anticipated.”
Carmi Levy, a technology analyst, agrees, adding that Google has finally delivered something we all have been waiting for.
“Few wearable devices have been as long-anticipated as the Pixel Watch. From the moment the original Apple Watch was introduced in 2015, consumers and analysts alike have been waiting for Google’s answer. While buying Fitbit in 2019 certainly moved the company more squarely into the wearable space, nothing short of a properly designed, appropriately branded device would satisfy fans of the company who have long contended Google won’t ever seriously contend until it introduces an answer to the Apple Watch. With the Pixel Watch, Google finally delivers that answer. And it’s an impressive first shot that nicely takes what it acquired with Fitbit and turns it into something potentially world-beating.”
“I suspect Google will sell every Pixel Watch it can to anyone who’s ever bought a Pixel phone. For consumers who haven’t already bought into the full Apple ecosystem, this is Google’s first and best attempt to capture their attention and claw back some wrist-based real estate,” he writes.
And frankly, the Pixel watch really is “peak” Google design, but is it enough to entice more people to buy the product and veer those who have been sucked into the Apple ecosystem?
Levy doesn’t think so. In fact, he says that for Google, that’s not “the end game.”
“Google is selling to the 70% of consumers who are buying Android phones. And in a still-growing smartphone market, there’s ample room for Google to convert consumers who haven’t already committed elsewhere. Or who own earlier versions of Wear OS-powered watches and are underwhelmed at the current state of the non-Apple market,” Levy says.
This watch will finally give us some competition
In my eyes, it's always been a dominating factor of the Apple Watch taking over and being the watch that cohesively binds the Apple devices together.
But for once, it's possible for the Pixel Watch and Wear OS to make the market competitive.
In his latest editorial, AC's Andrew Myrick writes: "Where does the Pixel Watch land? Well, it gives the market another option, which is never a bad thing. We're still awaiting the arrival of new smartwatches with Wear OS 3 out of the box, and we should be seeing more of those over the next few months. But Google's smartwatch is out now, and it's providing the true Apple Watch competitor for Android that we've wanted since the arrival of the Moto 360 and LG G Watch."
Myrick isn't wrong here. I think one of the biggest issues we're seeing with the smartwatch scene is the lack of cohesiveness between a watch and phone and, frankly, just the lack of competition.
When we think of the Apple Watch, we know you're going to get it because it will pair well with your iPhone.
And, from my understanding, for the longest time, that hasn't been the case for any Android watch until the Pixel Watch.
Goddamn, that cohesiveness is sexy
We talk about how important it is for there to be a proper ecosystem that really seamlessly connects all your devices with one another.
Truth be told, Apple has figured this out.
But when we look at this new lineup, I can't help but froth at the mouth because of how sexy the cohesive experience is between the Pixel phone, the Pixel buds, and the Pixel Watch.
Good lord, now that is exactly what I was expecting from this. Again, as I mentioned, it's not about the hardware or software but really the way that Google has presented this entire lineup of devices as a whole.
Ars Technica's Ron Amadeo really summed it up nicely in a tweet: "Despite the price and wack SoC, I really do like the Pixel Watch. It's just too pretty to be mad at. It's also really fast. There'll be sales eventually, right?"
Yeah, I freaking hope there will be because, goddamn, as an Apple Watch user, it'd switch over to the dark side.
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Shruti Shekar is Android Central's managing editor. She was born in India, brought up in Singapore, but now lives in Toronto and couldn't be happier. She started her journalism career as a political reporter in Ottawa, Canada's capital, and then made her foray into tech journalism at MobileSyrup and most recently at Yahoo Finance Canada. When work isn't on her mind, she loves working out, reading thrillers, watching the Raptors, and planning what she's going to eat the next day.