After years of toying with smartwatch hardware, Google will finally launch a Pixel Watch in 2022. It sports a unique design, offers Fitbit integration, and of course, is the first smartwatch to run a “pure” version of Wear OS 3. Here’s everything we know so far.
Update, 5/16/22: Shortly after its I/O 2022 conference, Google confirmed that the Pixel Watch runs an older Samsung Exynos processor. We’ve updated this article with information from that announcement.
Google revealed the Pixel Watch during its I/O 2022 conference. It confirms that the device will launch “this fall” alongside the Pixel 7 smartphone. So, we’re probably looking at a September or October launch.
Pricing for the Pixel Watch is a mystery. Still, we can speculate a bit. Because Google owns Fitbit, it will probably avoid placing the Pixel Watch in the same price category as Fitbit products. That means it could cost more than the $200 Fitbit Sense.
At the same time, Google will probably try to undercut the competition. That’s what it did with the Pixel 6, which turned out to be a smash hit when compared with previous Google hardware. Since the cheapest Apple Watch Series 7 costs $400, it’s safe to guess that the Pixel Watch costs between $250 and $350.
Bear in mind that we haven’t found any reliable leaks or rumors related to Pixel Watch pricing. The device could easily cost more or less than what we’re predicting.
Samsung’s smartwatches look “analog,” the Apple Watch looks like a tiny iPad, and the Pixel Watch looks kind of like a futuristic Casio. Official images indicate that the Pixel Watch sports a rounded, curved display with a small control dial and an interchangeable wristband.
But the Pixel Watch is a bit thicker than it looks. A late prototype that someone “accidentally” left in a restaurant is about half an inch thick, about what you get with an Apple Watch or Galaxy Watch. It also has pretty thick bezels, which are hard to spot in promotional material.
One notable thing about the Pixel Watch design is its UI. We’re used to seeing flashy, colorful screens on smartwatches, but all renders of the Pixel watch show a simple, two-toned UI with various color options. While this product almost certainly uses an OLED display, it seems that Google is aiming for a very minimalist design (or a minimalist selection of watch faces, at the very least).
And like other smartwatches, the Pixel Watch seems to employ a variety of watch faces. Google confirms that some of these watch faces pair with your Fitbit account, as the Pixel Watch integrates fully with Fitbit services.
Information in the Wear OS 3 emulator indicates that the Pixel Watch runs on a Samsung processor, not Snapdragon chip. This is likely due to the fact that Wear OS 3 is already optimized for Samsung’s Exynos platform, and of course, Snapdragon smartwatch chips are years behind in terms of processing power and power efficiency.
But the Pixel Watch won’t use the same chip that’s in the Galaxy Watch 4. As verified by 9to5Google, Pixel Watch actually uses an Exynos 9110 processor, which launched way back in 2018. It’s still an upgrade over any SnapDragon smartwatch chip, but it’s a lot less powerful than what we were expecting.
And Google confirms that the Pixel Watch runs “next-gen Google Assistant”, the faster version of Assistant that debuted on the Pixel 4 smartphone (and has remained absent from smartwatches).
Interestingly, the Pixel Watch 4 could use 32GB of internal storage for offline music and other data. That would make it the most storage-rich Wear OS device on the market. For reference, the Galaxy Watch 4 contains just 16GB of storage.
Leaks and rumors haven’t revealed any other Pixel Watch specs. We don’t know the device’s IP rating, battery size, display size or resolution, or weight. And while Google will probably offer the smartwatch with LTE connectivity (at a higher price), this is just speculation.
This shouldn’t be much of a surprise—the Pixel Watch will run Wear OS 3. But this is notable for a few reasons. First, we haven’t seen a “pure” version of Wear OS 3, as Samsung went pretty heavy-handed with the Galaxy Watch 4’s software. And second, Google will add some exclusive features to the Pixel Watch, including Emergency SOS support (to contact family when it detects an emergency) and first-time support for Google Home.
We expect the Pixel Watch to feature a step counter, a heart rate monitor, and all the other stuff you expect from a good smartwatch. But the Pixel Watch will also contain some Fitbit technologies, as confirmed by Google.
All of your health and fitness metrics can sync from the Pixel Watch to your Fitbit account. And notably, Pixel Watch uses Fitbit technology to process all health and fitness data. (Google explains that, because of a regulatory promise, only Fitbit can see this data. Google cannot access it.)
I should point out that the Nest Hub will gain Fitbit integration in 2023, and Google confirms that Fitbit is working on its own Wear OS device. Clearly, Google has big plans for Fitbit, and those plans are coming to life later this year.
It’s clear that the Pixel Watch is a unique, interesting product. It will be the first smartwatch to run a “pure” version of Wear OS 3, and it may integrate with Fitbit for health and fitness tracking across multiple devices. Unfortunately, we’ll have to wait until “this fall” to buy the smartwatch.
We will update this article as new information comes to light. For instant updates on the Pixel Watch and other tech news, consider joining our free newsletter.