Over the past few years, Google has begun to dip its toes into the consumer hardware business. While it started off a little rocky with Google Glass, the tech giant quickly redeemed itself with its line of Pixel smartphones, Pixelbooks, and Google Home products. This year, it looks like Google may be re-entering the wearables market with its first smartwatch, the Pixel Watch. Here’s everything you need to know.
Since we’re still several months away from a possible Pixel Watch announcement, spec details on the rumored smartwatch are sparse. However, we do expect the Pixel Watch to ship with flagship-quality hardware.
Much like similar premium smartwatches, we anticipate both a Wi-Fi and LTE version of the Pixel Watch being made available when the phones launches — this seems to be the case, as German website WinFuture reports that the Pixel Watch is currently being developed as three different models, code-named “Ling,” “Triton,” and “Sardine.” If true, this also means it’s possible the Pixel Watch will come with size variants as well. That same report also goes on to state that the Pixel Watch will come with at least 1GB of RAM, though it’s uncertain whether that would apply to every model.
It’s highly likely the Pixel Watch will pack in Qualcomm’s newest wearables chipset that’s shipping later this year — like the Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 3100. The new processor will reportedly be smaller, more efficient, and perform better than its predecessor, the Snapdragon 2100.
Perhaps the biggest benefit of the rumored Pixel Watch is its operating system. The Pixel Watch will most likely run a stock version of Wear OS, or a version with special features just for the Pixel Watch — similar to Google’s brand of Android for the Pixel phones. Since the smartwatch will be Google’s own hardware, it should receive frequent software updates and support for at least a few years.
While rumors of the Pixel Watch’s features aren’t widespread yet, expect Google Assistant, Google Assistant, and a touch of Google Assistant. Google has leaned heavily into Assistant in the last year, improving it heavily and packing it into more products. It would be fair to assume that Google’s voice assistant will be a big part of the Pixel Watch’s intended use.
Release and availability
It may be a bit of a wait until we actually see the Pixel Watch. Since Google will almost certainly wait on Qualcomm to release its newest chipset for wearables before it announces Pixel Watch, it’s likely we won’t see the watch until late in the year.
Right now, we believe the Pixel Watch will be announced alongside this year’s crop of new Pixel smartphones. While a specific release date isn’t mentioned, industry analysts Canalys took the possibility of a Pixel Watch into consideration in its wearables report for the second quarter of 2018, highlighting such a watch as being serious competition for the Apple Watch. Last year, Google announced the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL in late October, so we’re anticipating a similar announcement date for this year.
In terms of availability, it’s likely Google will sell the Pixel Watch both on its own website as well as in major retail outlets. If Google does make an LTE version of the Pixel Watch, it may a carrier exclusive throughout the holiday season.
Besides the Pixel 3, Pixel 3 XL, and second-gen Pixel Buds, a reliable source tells me — with high confidence — that Google's fall hardware event will also introduce a Pixel-branded watch. Have a great summer!
— Evan Blass (@evleaks) May 10, 2018
It’s hard to guess exactly what the Pixel Watch will look like. There have been no leaked images or schematics of the device just yet, so anything we list is almost pure conjecture.
That said, we anticipate the Pixel Watch will be smaller than many other smartwatches on the market. Since it will likely use a smaller, yet to be released, processor, Google will likely be able to shave off a few millimeters of the overall case width.
On the other hand, Google is reportedly looking to pack features into the watch. According to a report from WinFuture, the Pixel Watch will contain a heart rate monitor, Bluetooth support, and other premium features.
Google has yet to confirm it is even making a smartwatch, so we’ve yet to receive confirmation on the name. However, famed leaker Evan Blass, as well as other tipsters, have referred to the upcoming device as the Pixel Watch, and that name appears to be on brand.