The worst kept secret in tech is a secret no more. At its I/O developer conference today, Google just confirmed the existence of the much-leaked Pixel Watch. Not only that, the company showed pictures of the device, and it looks a lot like a bezelless Samsung Galaxy Watch.
The Pixel Watch has a domed, round face and, like most Google hardware, appears to have a pastel-based color scheme. There is a “tactile crown” and customizable bands will be available, too. The device will run Wear OS 3, which the company launched last year in collaboration with Samsung, but with updates we heard about earlier during today’s keynote. Some features we already knew about, like offline Maps directions on your wrist, are finally arriving for real. Emergency SOS and a new Google Wallet are also coming to Wear OS on the Pixel Watch.
Google is also promising deep integration with Fitbit, which it recently acquired, for health and fitness-tracking features. Wear OS has long lacked comprehensive activity and biometric-tracking tools, and now, the OS will better. Google had already said it was working with Fitbit and learning from Samsung on how to efficiently implement constant heart rate monitoring and sleep tracking. It appears the Pixel Watch, with the latest Wear OS, will offer that.
It will also have a Fitbit app that lets users collect “Active Zone minutes” that fans of the activity band maker will find familiar. You’ll also be able to log your progress against preset goals. It’s not yet clear how the Fitbit app will work with Google’s own Fit, or if there will be any overlap.
In fact, not much else is known about the Pixel Watch itself, except that more details will be released in the coming months and that it will launch in the fall with the Pixel 7 and 7 Pro. We don’t know what chipset Google is using, or what battery life to expect. One thing worth noting is that the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4, which was the first smartwatch to run the new Wear OS, does not work with iOS. The Pixel Watch will not, either. But most iPhone users will likely opt for the Apple Watch, which to this day is the best smartwatch available.
The Pixel Watch is an intriguing offering from Google, but until we have more information, it’s hard to know if the company will be able to steal Apple’s crown. For now, after having had to wait so long, I guess we have to wait just a little more to get the full details.
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