New leaks suggest that Google’s first Pixel Watch won’t run on a Snapdragon or Tensor processor. Instead, it may use a Samsung-made Exynos W920 chip, the same processor behind the new Galaxy Watch 4. Additionally, the Pixel Watch could finally introduce on-device Google Assistant speech processing to Wear OS.
As discovered by 9to5Google, the Wear OS 3 emulator contains some evidence that the Pixel Watch (codenamed Rohan) runs on an Exynos chip. It’s a strange thing to think about—Google’s custom-made Tensor chip is a smash hit, so why use a Samsung processor?
Simply put, Google may need to use the Exynos W920 in its Pixel Watch. The Qualcomm Snapdragon chips utilized in most smartwatches aren’t powerful enough for Wear OS 3 and have a terrible battery life. Google can’t just shove a Tensor chip that’s made for a smartphone into a watch, so an Exynos chip is its only option.
Wear OS 3 will supposedly support Snapdragon smartwatches in mid-2022, but Google probably wants the extra power offered by Exynos. After all, 9to5Google found that the Pixel Watch will probably introduce “next-gen Google Assistant” to Wear OS. This version of Assistant offers on-device voice processing (as opposed to cloud-based voice processing), so it requires a decent chipset.
We’re still not sure when Google will launch the Pixel Watch. In fact, we’re still not certain that Google will even launch a smartwatch. But given the current landscape (most smartwatches suck, only the Galaxy Watch 4 runs Wear OS 3), it feels like 2022 is the perfect year for a Pixel Watch.