Google Pixel Watch: here’s everything we know so far

Google Pixel Watch: here’s everything we know so far

April 18, 2022 0 By James Peckham

You’ve heard rumors of a Google Pixel Watch for years — and you’re still waiting on the device. We know. We are too. Given all we’ve heard about a Google Watch, it’s clearly been in development … so when will we be able to strap something on our wrists?

The wait may be over: Evan Blass, the popular online spoiler of release dates and confidential info, recently tweeted a cryptic message: It “won’t be long now” before we see the wearable get its official unveiling by Google. Several reports point to a launch (at last!) in 2022, and one leak goes as far as saying the exact launch date will be May 26.

Just as Pixel phones are a showcase for the Android OS’s smartphone power, the Google Pixel Watch is expected to be an example of the full potential of Wear OS – and given the wearable operating system’s big update from last year’s Google I/O showcase, we figured the watch wasn’t far behind. Flash forward a year, and we think it’s finally coming.

Here’s everything we know so far about the upcoming watch, as well as a list of the features we’d like from the first flagship Google Watch. Where are we, Google Wear?

Cut to the chase

  • What is it? The first flagship watch designed by Google
  • What will it cost? Probably a high-end cost, but no specifics yet
  • When is it out? The second half of 2022… maybe

LATEST NEWS

April 15:  As per well-respected leaker Evan Blass, it “won’t be long now” before we see the wearable get its official unveiling by Google. Blass Also cites the Pixel’s apparent code name: Pixel Rohan.

March 28: Are we still waiting? The Pixel Watch will be unveiled at I/O but won’t launch until October, alongside the Pixel 7 and the Pixel 7 Pro, says tech tipster Jon Prosser.

March 17: Google I/O is coming May 11. Here’s everything you can expect at the big showcase, including Android 13, and maybe a Pixel Tablet, Pixel Watch, and Pixel 7 hints.

March 7: A patent has surfaced from 2020 that shows motion gestures on the Google Pixel Watch (even though the Pixel 5 didn’t get the feature). Could you you skip songs on Spotify, navigate menus, or enjoy a host of other tricks just by waving your hand?

RELEASE DATE AND PRICE

An exact release date for the rumored Google Pixel Watch isn’t clear – just predictions based on leaks. One report from Insider claims to have spoken to people familiar with the matter who suggest it’s coming in 2022, and more recently we’ve heard that May 26, 2022 will be the big day – perhaps during Google IO 2022.

The wearable has also reportedly been spotted on a carrier’s inventory system in the US, suggesting they’re preparing it for sale, making a May launch looking more likely.

That said, a tweet from noted leaker Evleaks claimed a “reliable source” said it would be announced alongside the Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL back in 2018,  then a rumor claimed the Google Watch would land on October 15 2019 at the Pixel 4 launch – but of course, neither happened, and we’re still waiting.

One recent report suggests that the global chip shortage is going to push the Google Pixel 6a launch back from May to late July, and that the Pixel Watch is going to shift as well to match the same schedule. One report hints that the wearable will appear with the Pixel 7 in October.

We’re fairly confident that such a watch is definitely in the works though, and it’s possible that the Pixel Watch could benefit from Google’s acquisition of Fitbit, which could see the latter company’s wearable skills put towards Google smartwatch hardware.

Better still, at Google IO 2021 the company announced that Wear OS is integrating features from Samsung’s Tizen OS, which could suggest what’s coming in the Google Watch.

We’ve also heard that Google has reportedly ordered processors from Samsung (according to ETNews) which would be capable of detecting body movements. There’s no guarantee that these are for a smartwatch (they could be for a Pixel phone) but a wearable would be an obvious fit. That, then, is strong evidence that some form of Pixel Watch is in the works.

As for price, we don’t currently have any idea how much this watch will cost. Considering the Pixel range is usually high-end products with generally flagship level prices, we’d expect that but we don’t currently have any evidence supporting it.

DESIGN AND DISPLAY

The first real Pixel Watch design leak came from leaker Jon Prosser, who shared an image showing the wearable with a physical crown.

See more

Prosser followed up with a batch of rendered images based on info provided by a source, which show potentially the first full looks at the Pixel Watch’s supposed design. Here’s the full video of Prosser’s reveal.

Per the renders, the Pixel Watch looks like a circular smartwatch with a bezel-less display, no buttons, and a single physical crown on the right side. The renders also recreate the suggested interface, including a watch face with radial time markers, giving it an analog timepiece look. The apps look very simple, suggesting Google could be going for a more elegant minimalist design.

We’ve since seen what is supposedly a leaked image from Google’s marketing department, showing off what the Pixel Watch is going to look like. You can check it out below – the lack of bezel and the minimal design matches up with the unofficial renders we’ve also seen.

Google Pixel Watch marketing image leak

(Image credit: Jon Prosser / Front Page Tech)

Finally, a US carrier has listed the wearable as coming in gray, black and gold shades.

SPECS AND FEATURES

In terms of specs, there isn’t much known about the Google Pixel Watch, though one source suggests it will use a 5nm chipset – likely the same one as the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 has. Since then more evidence of a Samsung Exynos chip has emerged, so this is likely.

carrier’s inventory system also lists the wearable as coming with 32GB of storage, and its presence there suggests there will probably be a cellular version, as this carrier has never sold a non-cellular smartwatch.

Elsewhere, possible watch faces for the Pixel Watch have also leaked, showing things like step counts, heart rate and the weather. Interestingly, one also includes a Fitbit logo, suggesting the Pixel Watch could incorporate some Fitbit features.

There’s other evidence that there could be a big focus on fitness too, both because Google has bought Fitbit, and because Google sent out a survey asking people about features they’d like to see in Wear OS, and those features included things like SPO2 (oxygenation) tracking, sleep apnea detection, sleep analysis, heartbeat alerts, recovery time monitoring, stress tracking, pairing for medical devices and gym equipment, rep detection, and calorie tracking.

Of course, it’s unlikely they would all be added, but some may well be, and it shows that Google is thinking about health and fitness.

Wear OS is the latest version of Google's smartwatch operating system

Wear OS is the latest version of Google’s smartwatch operating system

One rumored feature was something codenamed ‘Blackghost’. It was thought to be be a power management integrated circuit built into the chipset itself that will allow the watch to listen out for voice commands at all times without draining the battery.

If this does appear, expect to be able to ask Google Assistant questions without either draining your smartwatch after a few hours or having to press a button beforehand.

Similarly, we’ve now heard that the Pixel Watch might support on-device processing for Google Assistant, which could speed the service up. A new-look design for Assistant has also leaked, as you can see below.

An image showing how Google Assistant might look on the Pixel Watch

(Image credit: 9to5Google / Google)

Another report – this time from WinFuture – has suggested there may actually be three versions of the Pixel Watch in development. The website has heard word of devices with code names Ling, Triton and Sardine all in development at Google HQ.

Exactly what the differences for the devices would be are currently unclear. It may mean we’ll see three variants of the Pixel Watch. That same report also suggested at least one version of the watch will come with 1GB of RAM.

This report could mean there will be one watch in the range with LTE or another that’s designed to be more focused on fitness, but so far we’ve yet to hear any rumors of what those different versions will be. This report is also quite old now, so it may no longer be relevant.

We’ve also seen a Google patent, which details a gesture control system that would allow a smartwatch to detect movements you make with your arm, wrist or fingers.

For example, you could make a fist to launch Google Assistant and open the fist to dismiss it. These gestures would be done on the arm or hand that the watch is worn on. However, patents aren’t always used, so there’s no guarantee we’ll see this.

WHAT WE’D LIKE TO SEE

Below we’ve put together a list of the things we want to see from the Google Pixel Watch.

1. Rotating crown or bezel

Samsung's Gear Sport uses a rotating bezel

Samsung’s Gear Sport uses a rotating bezel

Before the switch to Wear OS, Android Wear 2.0 put a big focus on how the design had been reworked to play well with rotating bezels and crowns, but then we haven’t seen many watches embrace that.

Why not use it for the Google Pixel Watch? Those features may be far in Google’s rear view mirror as the Wear OS updates take precedent, but we’d love to see an innovative way of interacting with the watch such as a rotating crown or bezel.

2. In-display fingerprint scanner

If Google really wants to put the Pixel Watch on the map, adding an in-display fingerprint scanner would go a long way to doing that. Currently Wear OS watches (and the Apple Watch) allow you to secure them with a PIN code – but that’s not the most secure form of protection available.

With an in-display fingerprint scanner, the secure biometric technology would fit seamlessly into the wearable without disrupting the visual appeal of the watch. It would also allow you to approve purchases over the current contactless limit (assuming the Pixel Watch comes with NFC).

There are a couple of potential negatives here though. Firstly, the addition of this fledgling technology could increase the thickness of the watch – and no one wants an overly chunky wearable – but secondly it’ll also likely push the price tag way up.

If Google can overcome these two things though, you can sign us up for a Pixel Watch right now.

3. Swimproof

We’re used to smartwatches coming with a level of dust and water resistance, but few carry an IP certification high enough to ensure their survival when we cannonball into the local pool.

A fully swim-proof Google Pixel Watch would not only allow you to keep the wearable on in the bath, but also allow you to track workouts in the pool without fear of malfunction.

4. Three day battery life

The new enhanced battery saver mode on Wear OS

The new enhanced battery saver mode on Wear OS

This is a simple one, but we want the Google Pixel Watch to last as long as it can. Imagine a fully fledged smartwatch that doesn’t need charging after two days of intensive usage.

Wear OS is integrating a useful enhanced battery saver mode that should give you a lot more time with your smartwatch, but it’ll limit the amount of features you can use when it’s on.

Clearly Google wants to improve how long your watch will last from one charge, but we’d love to see a big battery inside the watch and well optimized software that offers the best battery for a smartwatch on the market right now.

5. NFC payments

Another simple one here, but quite a few Wear OS watches don’t come with NFC built in so you aren’t able to use Google Pay features on your wrist. That’s a frustration for a lot of people, so we’re hoping Google will include an NFC chip inside the watch.

That’ll especially be useful when you’re out for a run and you need to buy a bottle of water, but you’ve left your wallet at home.

6. Best in class fitness

Garmin's Forerunner 935 comes with a lot of fitness features built-in.

Garmin’s Forerunner 935 comes with a lot of fitness features built-in.

While we’re on the topic of running, we want the Pixel Watch to compete with the fitness prowess of the Apple Watch 3 as well as top-end specialist watches like the Garmin Forerunner 935.

Imagine if Google can include all of the latest tracking tech including accurate GPS, LTE so we can listen to music on the go as well as a top of the range heart rate tracker.

We want to be able to strap the Google Pixel Watch to our wrist and head out for any type of exercise and know we’ll be tracked accurately and get as much fitness stats as we possibly can.

7. High-end watch design

This one is a given, but we want to see a watch that you’re not embarrassed to wear on your wrist. Not every Wear OS watch is a gorgeous creation, so we wish Google will be able to offer a slimmer option than most other manufacturers that uses high-end materials and feels like a proper timepiece you’re excited to wear.

If you’re going to be spending a fair amount of money on a new watch, you’ll want it to look great on your wrist so this is one of the most important things we want to see on the new wearable.

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