Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority
The Google Pixel Watch is the wearable version of Bigfoot. For the better part of a decade, rumors that the smartwatch is in fact real have come and gone. However, its existence remains unproven. Now, at the end of 2021, that whisper is gaining volume again.
Recent reports, rumors and apparent evidence have fueled the fire, suggesting that 2022 could finally be the year for the mysterious smartwatch. But what do we know about the Google Pixel Watch so far? Below we wrap up the final details.
Also see: The best smartwatches you can buy
A Brief History of Google Pixel Watch Rumors
Will this be the year we see a Google Pixel Watch? Well, this question has been asked for a few years now, but has not yet received a concrete answer. When Google launched the first Pixel five years ago, there were reportedly two smartwatches in the works. These two devices eventually landed as LG wearables, or so the story goes.
Rumors of an upcoming Pixel Watch started up again in 2018 after Google renamed and refreshed Android Wear to Wear OS before the Pixel 3 series launched. However, Google quickly dismissed the claims.
Move on to 2021 and there’s seemingly more reason than ever for Google to launch a Pixel Watch. It recently completed its purchase of Fitbit, launched its Wear OS 3 rework on the Galaxy Watch 4 series, and the demand for smartwatches and health trackers is greater than ever.
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority
There’s very little concrete evidence that Google’s wearable would be called the Pixel Watch, but there’s plenty of reason to believe it does. Google’s Pixel name is one of the most recognizable names in consumer mobile technology, so it makes perfect sense to lend that title to its smartwatch. The company has done this before with the Pixelbook line as well.
The most recent evidence of the smartwatch’s name comes from two separate reports. Beginning December 2021, Business Insider sources suggested that Google is working on a smartwatch codenamed “Rohan”. In a more recent report by 9to5Google, evidence in the Google app pointed to a direct mention of Pixel Watch. The publication found a “PIXEL_EXPERIENCE_WATCH” sequence that was seemingly added in a recent update, providing the most telling clue that the smartwatch may include Pixel in the title.
As for the release date, you can imagine that this is quite a complicated matter. More recent rumors suggest that the Pixel Watch will make an official debut in 2022. But as in previous years, there is no definitive evidence to suggest this will be the case.
One rumor that hasn’t deviated much over the years is the design of the Pixel Watch. The general consensus on every rumor suggests that the Pixel Watch will have a circular face, contrary to Apple’s rectangular philosophy.
In particular, a more obscure leak suggests that there could be at least two buttons on the Pixel Watch. 9to5Google discovered a Google Assistant visual that highlights a central crown and what appears to be a dedicated voice assistant button. We’ve also seen similar designs in previous Google marketing materials, most notably at I/O 2021. However, this isn’t necessarily a slam-dunk confirmation that the Pixel Watch will inherit such a design.
What about press or lifelike images? There haven’t been many. In early December, a series of alleged marketing images of the Pixel Watch were revealed by tipster Jon Prosser. The low-resolution images show a wearable with a highly curved glass dial and a ‘bezelless design’, a single button/crown combination on the right, and straps that fasten flush against the watch body. The last detail suggests you can’t use any strap with the wearable — a big downer for avid customizers. While Prosser calls these images “official,” we haven’t seen any renders of Google’s own smartwatch yet. These alleged marketing images also use designs similar to those in April 2021, which Prosser claimed were third-party renders by an artist based on apparent official images.
In May 2021, an alleged image of the Pixel Watch along with the Pixel 6 Pro was also leaked ahead of the phone’s launch. Coming again from Prosser, the image of the watch was based on photos from a source of a wearable believed to be the Pixel Watch, rather than on something more reliable like leaked CAD files. With the benefit of hindsight, it’s worth noting that the Pixel 6 Pro rendering was quite accurate.
Google Pixel Watch: Specifications and Features
Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority
What could the Google Pixel Watch bring in terms of specs? We would expect a sharp focus on health tracking to begin with.
The company has shown a will to leverage Fitbit’s expertise in this segment, so the usual SpO2 sensor and heart rate monitor would likely be used. Should Google appeal to more avid fitness buffs, it could use an EDA sensor or an EKG to monitor stress and heart health. Fitbit has particular experience working with the latter two technologies with the Fitbit Sense. Again, there’s no evidence that the Pixel Watch will have these specific features. A recent rumor from Business Insider also suggests that the watch only offers basic fitness tracking features.
As for the processing power, rumors claim that the Pixel Watch is forgoing the Qualcomm Snapdragon 4100 series in favor of a Samsung Exynos chipset. This is far from confirmed, but reportedly stems from Wear OS code discovered by 9to5Google. It makes sense that Google opts for a chipset like the Exynos W920. Not only is it much younger than its Qualcomm equivalent, but it runs Wear OS 3 adeptly on the Galaxy Watch 4.
The Exynos W920 would theoretically give the Pixel Watch access to a low-power Arm Cortex-M55 core for low-power operations, LTE support, and GNSS support for more accurate tracking of outdoor activities.
Interestingly, Google is also very interested in developing a “next-generation Assistant,” according to evidence uncovered by 9to5Google. This revamp would include onboard math smarts similar to Google’s Pixel smartphones. This suggests that Google may need to focus on the Pixel Watch’s computing capabilities while keeping its power consumption in check.
Of course, the demand for processing power can come at the expense of battery life. Per Business Insider sources, the Pixel Watch in its current form must be charged daily. Charging speeds are also reportedly way too slow. Battery endurance, in particular, is a major weakness of the Galaxy Watch 4. Daily charging would be quite a pain for those who currently own a Garmin or Fitbit, but it wouldn’t be a major problem for Apple Watch floor-crossers.
Prices and availability
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority
Samsung Galaxy Watch 4
Finally, how much does the Google Pixel Watch cost and when can you buy one?
According to The edge‘s sources, the Pixel Watch will “cost more than a Fitbit,” but that in itself is a pretty vague statement. We could be looking at a ~$300 price tag if it’s the Fitbit Sense, but even this could be too expensive for a Google smartwatch that focuses only on basic health tracking.
As for availability, we expect Google to offer the Pixel Watch for pre-order shortly after an announcement.
That’s all we know about the Google Pixel Watch. Do you think the company will announce an in-house smartwatch in the coming months? Let us know in the comments below.