Rumors earlier this year said that Google might unveil three new devices in 2021: the Pixel 6 series, the first-gen Pixel Fold, and the first-gen Pixel Watch. Google only released the Pixel 6 in stores without acknowledging the foldable and wearable devices it’s been developing behind closed doors. But Google is still working on the Pixel Fold and Pixel Watch, with a new report offering more details about the latter. If everything goes according to plan, the Pixel Watch’s release date might be closer than ever.
The early Pixel Watch rumors
Google has been toying with the idea of making its own wearable for a few years, coming close to launching one at least once before. Google ultimately chose to can that project, but it’s still interested in the wearables market. The company then purchased Fitbit and rejuvenated Wear OS by injecting Samsung’s Tizen OS features into it.
The writing is already on the wall. One way or another, Google wants to compete against the Apple Watch, and Samsung’s Galaxy Watches in the coming years. And it’ll do it both with Fitbit devices and the so-called Pixel Watch.
It’s perfectly reasonable to assume Google will call the wearable Pixel Watch, given Google’s renewed interest to turn the Pixel phones into recognizable flagships. And while we’ve called it the Pixel Watch for a while, that’s not the device’s official name.
A new report from Business Insider says Google’s codename for it is “Rohan.” This matches Jon Prosser’s leak from April. The prominent leaker noted at the time that Rohan would have a round design, similar to the Galaxy Watches rather than the Apple Watch.
Googlers reportedly refer to it as the Pixel Watch or Android Watch.
Google’s watch design and health features
Insider has not produced any images of the Pixel Watch but says the company is already testing it internally. Even employees outside the smartwatch team have been testing the device in Google’s internal “dogfooding” testing program. The report notes that Google’s latest feedback sessions for the Pixel Watch took place last month. These developments signal that the device’s release date might be closer than ever.
The blog says the Pixel Watch will have a round design without a physical bezel. That’s according to renders and employees who saw it in real-life. The wearable will also feature user-replaceable bands, like the Apple Watch. Google reportedly wants the Pixel Watch to be comfortable to wear for at least 90% of the population.
The Pixel Watch images in this post come from Prosser’s leak back in April.
Like the Apple Watch, the Pixel wearable will need daily battery charging. This suggests the device will be more sophisticated than Fitbit wearables. Those do not require daily charging. The recent feedback documentation also showed that the Pixel Watch rechargers slowly, although we have no idea what that means. Apple has just improved the charging speed of the Apple Watch with the Series 7 release.
In terms of features, the Pixel Watch should offer fitness tracking like other devices. It will also feature a heart rate monitor.
As for the software, Insider claims that Google rolled the Fitbit group into its Devices and Services division. It also merged the wearables team with the Fitbit group. A project called Nightlight involves integrating Fitbit into Wear OS. The goal is to have Nightlight ready in time for the Pixel Watch release date.
Google Pixel Watch release date and price
Considering all these claims, it’s reasonable to assume the Pixel Watch will be more expensive than Fitbit devices. After all, Google will position it as an Apple Watch alternative. The Verge notes that one of its sources said the wearable would indeed be pricier than Fitbit gadgets.
As for the Pixel Watch release date, Insider says that senior Google executives told employees they want to launch the device next year. Two Googlers said that a spring launch was possible if the latest testing round is successful. But everything is subject to change, depending on feedback from the employees dogfooding the Pixel Watch.