Google announces the Pixel Watch at I/O


After weeks of rumors and photo leaks, Google has finally confirmed that the Pixel Watch is real. Today’s announcement is more of a tease than a full reveal, however, the watch will arrive later this fall alongside the Pixel 7.

Considering the Pixel Watch is 2022’s worst-kept wearable secret, there wasn’t anything too surprising in terms of design. As suspected, the Pixel Watch has a circular domed design and features a “touch” crown and side button. It is made of recycled stainless steel and has exclusive interchangeable bands. It will also run on an “enhanced” Wear OS 3 which has an “updated user interface” with better navigation and smart notifications. You will also have the option of choosing a cellular version of the device for standalone connectivity.

The Pixel Watch is Google’s first connected watch.
Image: Google

Software-wise, Google says the Pixel Watch will have the native Google apps you’d expect along with a shiny new Fitbit integration. That includes staples like Google Maps and Assistant, but also apps like Google Wallet and Google Home that are new to Wear OS. Another Wear OS feature is Emergency SOS. We’ve seen this feature on other smartwatches, and the main thing is that you can use your watch to contact a trusted friend or family member as well as call emergency services. As for the Fitbit integration, you’ll be able to view information about heart rate, sleep tracking, and active zone minutes.

Google Home is a new addition to Wear OS 3.
Image: Google

The Fitbit integration is the biggest collaboration between the two companies we’ve seen since Google bought Fitbit for $2.1 billion. (Technically, adding Google Assistant to the Fitbit Versa 3 and Sense was the first.) According to Rick Osterloh, senior vice president of devices and services at Google, this Fitbit integration will go beyond customizing watch faces. and will be “infused throughout” the Pixel Watch. live. Users will be able to sync their data with a Fitbit account, meaning they’ll be able to see it in the Fitbit app and on the web. The watch will use all of Fitbit’s latest algorithms for health and fitness.

Regarding data privacy, Osterloh said in a briefing that data from Fitbit and Google will remain private and separate due to promises made to regulators when it acquired Fitbit, which means that all data from health collected on the Pixel Watch will remain the responsibility of Fitbit, separate from Google. Osterloh also added that while the Fitbit team was deeply involved in the Pixel Watch, Fitbit still has plans for its own Wear OS watch and will continue to manufacture its own products.

Rick Osterloh showing off the Pixel Watch on stage.
Screenshot: The Edge

And that’s about it in terms of the hard details we have right now. In terms of cost, Google says it will be a “premium product”. Another potential catch is that the Pixel Watch will require a phone running Android 8.0 or later, and you’ll need a Google account. So, like the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4, the Pixel Watch won’t be compatible with iPhones like previous Wear OS watches were. Otherwise, the company has been tight-lipped on the specs of the watch, including what chip it will run on or if it will come in different sizes or colors etc. Those details, according to the company, will be shared in the coming months.

So while there’s still a lot we don’t yet know, the most notable finding is that Google is trying to push its Pixel ecosystem – much in the same way Apple uses the Apple Watch. The addition of apps like Google Home and Fitbit integration make the Pixel Watch an attractive option for long-time Fitbit users and anyone who has invested in Google’s smart home offerings. Of course, much of that will depend on how the Pixel Watch performs in real life, its specs, and its ability to hold up to all the hype. We’ll have to wait for the watch’s launch later this fall to pass judgement. But, at least on paper, Google appears to have a game plan in place – which is more than we can say for its latest attempt at making a smartwatch.



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