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Can Google bring its tech expertise to bear on a smartwatch? This is all we know so far about the alleged Pixel Watch, including its release date and rumoured specs.

It has long been speculated that Google will join the wearables game with its very own smartwatch, but there have been a couple of false dawns for this project already. Now it finally seems that the brand will indeed release the so-called Pixel Watch in 2022, and in this article you’ll find all that we know about it so far.

Release Date

Year on year, we’ve listened to different sources of speculation claiming that the Pixel Watch is just around the corner, though until now we are still yet to see it appear. However, at last, it really does seem likely to be unveiled in the near future.

Among others, the leaker Jon Prosser claims that the Pixel Watch is likely to be confirmed at Google I/O, alongside the Pixel 6a. This event, which is held on Wednesday 11th to Thursday 12th May, will mostly be for developers to get a closer look at Android 13, but evidently this year it seems that new hardware products will get just as much attention as the new operating system.

However, as you’ll note from the above tweet, it seems that Google will stop short of actually launching the smartwatch at this event, with it just being “teased” for the time being, though it could hit the shop shelves in October of the same year.

Another clue that the launch could be tantalisingly close was the tweet above, from Evan Blass, which seemed to show an available tutorial for the Pixel Watch (codenamed the ‘Pixel Rohan’ inside the company).

Design

  • Leaked design renders show off the slim profile
  • Near bezel-less display
  • Single physical input

Prior to his newly revised release date, Jon Prosser managed to get his hands on several images of the Pixel Watch, known internally at Google as ‘Project Rohan’. Being unable to share the leaked images directly however, Prosser has developed multiples renders based upon those images.

According to these renders, the Pixel Watch will feature a near bezel-less display, with the ability to spill over the sides, much like the Apple Watch 6. While it’s difficult to gain the exact measurements from these mock-ups, the watch itself does look incredibly slim – arguably one of the slimmest smartwatches we’ve seen.

There’s only one physical input on the device’s right-hand side: a presumably rotating crown. This means it’s likely that aside from having quick access to an app via a long press, as well as rotating the crown to navigate menus, the majority of interaction with the Pixel Watch will be done by the touchscreen.

Pixel Watch
Image credit: John Prosser

It’s also worth pointing out that the watch strap teased here is unlike anything we’ve seen before. While it bears some resemblance to Fitbit’s Infinity Band, there appears to be some sort of magnetic panelling on the inside of the strap that could be used for adjusting the length.

Image Credit: Evan Blass / 91mobiles

Another well-known tipster, Evan Blass, also unveiled a render of this curved-screen wearable, face-on, which gives an excellent impression of what it may look like. This mock-up also tips its hat towards Fitbit integration, seeing as Google bought this fitness tracker company in early 2021 and may well use its expertise to hone its sports features.

Android Central has also published images of what it believes to be the Pixel Watch. The circular body has a simple look, with a crown for navigation. Also shown were images of the strap, which certainly has a lot in common with the Sport Band sold alongside the Apple Watch. Not a whole can be gleaned from the images though as the watch doesn’t boot up – so we can’t see the software in full action.

Pixel Watch Features

  • Set to run on the new Wear OS
  • Google is partnering with Samsung on the software
  • There will be Fitbit integration

At this point in time, there’s no way of knowing exactly what Google has in store as far as features go for the Pixel Watch, but there is one aspect that is bound to set it apart, and that’s an updated Wear OS.

During Goole I/O 2021, Google announced it was partnering with Samsung to merge the Korean brand’s Tizen software with its own Wear OS to create one wearable ecosystem that’ll hopefully combine the best of both.

Google will also be tightly integrating Fitbit, a brand it now owns, into the OS to give Wear OS watches greatly improved fitness skills. Fitbit said it would be bringing its tracking and goals across and that it would be building premium smartwatches running the software in the future. So there’s every chance the next Fitbit Versa could be running this software.

Wear OS update

Aside from the small animation you can see below, there wasn’t much to go on regarding how this will look or function but the prospect is tempting.

During the announcement, it was revealed that this updated software would focus on battery life, performance and making it easier for developers to build apps. One example of the focus on performance was a new shortcut that would let you jump quickly between apps. You’ll also be able to finally download music from YouTube Music, a feature that has been absent since the death of Google Play Music.

There’s an abundance of devices from the likes of Mobvoi, Fossil and more that utilise Wear OS and Google said these companies would still be able to use the new software.

On top of the software collaboration, there’s also a clue that the two giants could join forces for hardware as well, as 9to5Google has revealed that the Pixel Watch could run on a Samsung Exynos processor. Additionally, this source claimed that the unreleased wearable could feature a next-gen version of Google Assistant which could be accessed via a secondary button not shown on all the renders we’ve seen so far. This advantages of the new iteration of the smart assistant could include the ability to complete in-app tasks using just your voice, and changing your device’s settings whilst being completely offline.

In a particularly intriguing development, Google has also patented a technology that would allow you to control a wearable device by tapping the skin next to it, rather than on the screen itself. LetsGoDigital claim that making a tapping or swiping gesture next to the device would create a mechanical wave that could be detected by sensors and an accelerometer to be recorded as input, while the wearables will be capable of distinguishing between deliberate physical input and other irrelevant movements. However, it’s doubtful that this tech will be ready for the first-generation Pixel Watch.

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