After so many leaks and waves of copious speculation, Google has finally announced the existence of the Pixel Watch. The company teased it during its Google I/O 2022 keynote, though you won’t be able to get your hands on it yet. The Pixel Watch will launch alongside the rest of the renewed Pixel lineup later this year.
Android fans have been waiting with bated breath for this smartwatch. After Google introduced Wear OS 3 at last year’s developer conference, folks had hoped that it meant new Google-led watches were on the horizon. But thus far, only Samsung has delivered a worthy smartwatch running a (hybrid) version of Wear OS 3.
You’ll still have to wait for the full Pixel Watch details to come later this year. Google has yet to tell all about what kind of unique features the watch will pack and how it will relate to other Android smartwatches, and we still don’t know the full breadth of its Fitbit-powered wellness offerings or what kind of battery life it will boast. And although Google has teased that it’s built custom silicon for the watch, there’s still more to uncover about its performance.
Meet the Pixel Watch
Despite Google’s reveal, we’re still not entirely sure what the physicality of the Pixel Watch will be like, though we have lots of renders. Google showed us that the Pixel Watch has a circular, domed design. It also has a protruding tactile crown, and the chassis is made from recycled stainless steel.
It’s unclear how the watchbands will work and how thick or thin they will be. The watch itself appears to be svelte in Google’s renders, though that restaurant leak from a few weeks ago implies there will be some thickness to the actual watch body. Google also revealed the watch will come in several colorways, though it’s not clear what the final offerings will be. We only know that they will match the Pixel 7’s backside look.
The Pixel Watch will offer an improved Google Wear OS experience. According to Google, the interface should feel “fluid and easy to navigate.” It should also be “more glanceable than ever,” which likely refers to how the widgets and other screen complications will appear when you lift your wrist. There are some screenshots of what the Pixel Watch’s interface will look like, and there’s a distinct difference in aesthetics compared to the Galaxy Watch 4.
Like other Wear OS watches, the Pixel Watch will offer contactless payment, turn-by directions through Google Maps, and access to the Google Assistant—something that Samsung is still working on. Google also showcased smart home controls that look like extensions of the Google Home app’s per-device toggles.
Full Fitbit integration
The other marquee feature of the Pixel Watch will be its deep integration with Fitbit. We’ve been waiting to see what this would be like after Google officially acquired FitBit in 2021. Rick Osterloh, SVP of hardware, said the Fitbit experience would be “imbued throughout this device.”
The Pixel Watch will be capable of much of what Fitbit’s smartwatches and fitness trackers already do, including continuous heart rate monitoring and sleep tracking. The Pixel Watch will also count Active Zone Minutes as you’re working out and track your progress against your personal fitness goals, which you’ll likely set through an app on your smartphone. However, we’re still figuring out whether this will happen through the Fitbit or Google Fit app.
The question remains if this is all the Pixel Watch will do. We’re not sure which sensors will come with the watch or the specifics of other wellness-centric features.
Google also hasn’t confirmed the processor inside the Pixel Watch, one of the main pain points of past Android smartwatches. If Google goes custom like the Tensor CPU on its Pixel phones, it could offer better battery life than the last generation of subpar Android smartwatches running on Qualcomm’s middling chips. It could also help facilitate on-device Assistant capabilities so that you can command the watch much faster than its predecessors.
The Pixel Watch is only compatible with Android and Pixel devices. We still have months to go before it’s fully unveiled alongside the upcoming Pixel 7 and 7 Pro flagship devices.