Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority
Update, January 24, 2022 (2:25 AM ET): We’ve updated our Google Pixel Watch rumor hub with new details about the wearable’s possible launch date. Read on for more.
Original article, December 23, 2021 (12:32 PM ET): The Google Pixel Watch is the wearable industry’s version of Bigfoot. For the best part of a decade, rumors that the smartwatch is, in fact, real have come and gone. However, its existence remains unproven. Now, at the back end of 2021, those whispers are again gaining volume.
Recent reports, rumors, and apparent evidence have added some fuel to the fire, hinting that 2022 might finally be the year for the mysterious smartwatch. But what do we know about the Google Pixel Watch so far? We round up the latest details below.
See also: 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 good few years but hasn’t yet received a concrete answer. When Google launched the first Pixel five years ago, two smartwatches were reportedly in the works. These two devices eventually landed as LG wearables, so the tale goes.
Roll on to 2021, and there’s seemingly more reason than ever for Google to launch a Pixel Watch. It recently wrapped up its purchase of Fitbit, it launched its Wear OS 3 rework on the Galaxy Watch 4 series, and the appetite for smartwatches and health trackers is bigger 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 might be. Google’s Pixel moniker is among the most recognizable names in mobile consumer tech, so it makes complete sense to lend that title to its smartwatch. The company has done this before with the Pixelbook line, too.
The most recent evidence of the smartwatch’s name stems from two separate reports. In early December 2021, Business Insider sources suggested that Google is working on a smartwatch codenamed “Rohan.” In a more recent report from 9to5Google, evidence within the Google app pointed to a direct Pixel Watch mention. The publication found a “PIXEL_EXPERIENCE_WATCH” string seemingly added in a recent update, providing the most telling clue that the smartwatch may include Pixel in its title.
As for the release date, well, you can imagine this is a pretty complicated matter. More recent rumors suggest the Pixel Watch will make an official debut in 2022. But like in prior years, there’s no definitive evidence to suggest this will be the case.
The latest indication suggests that the Pixel Watch could arrive in May, more specifically May 26. This tip stems from leaker Jon Prosser and is the first indication of a launch day we’ve had for the device. While a spring launch could possibly coincide with Google I/O or the Pixel 6a’s rumored arrival, we’ve yet to hear any supporting evidence for this date.
One rumor that hasn’t deviated too much over the years is the Pixel Watch’s design. The general consensus across every rumor suggests that the Pixel Watch will have a circular face, going against Apple’s rectangular philosophy.
Notably, a more obscure leak suggests there could be at least two buttons on the Pixel Watch. 9to5Google uncovered a Google Assistant visual that highlights a central crown and what appears to be a dedicated voice assistant button. We’ve seen similar designs in earlier Google marketing material, too, 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 real-life images? There haven’t been too many of those. In early December, a set of alleged marketing images of the Pixel Watch was outed by Jon Prosser. The low-resolution images detail a wearable with a severely curved glass face and “bezel-less design,” a single button/crown combo on its right-hand side, and straps that fasten flush to the watch body. The latter detail suggests you won’t be able to use any band with the wearable — a big downer for avid customizers. Although Prosser calls these images “official,” we’ve yet to see any renders of the smartwatch from Google itself. These alleged marketing images also use designs similar to those outed in April 2021, which Prosser claimed were third-party renders from an artist based on apparent official images.
In May 2021, a purported image of the Pixel Watch also leaked alongside the Pixel 6 Pro before the phone’s launch. Once again stemming from Prosser, the image of the watch was based on a source’s photographs of a wearable believed to be the Pixel Watch rather than something more trustworthy, like leaked CAD files. With the benefit of hindsight, it’s worth noting that the Pixel 6 Pro render was pretty accurate.
Google Pixel Watch: Specs and features
Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority
What could the Google Pixel Watch bring to the table in terms of specs? We would expect a keen focus on health tracking for a start.
The company has demonstrated a will to utilize Fitbit’s expertise in this segment, so the usual SpO2 sensor and heart-rate monitor would likely feature. Should Google appeal to more avid fitness fanatics, it could rope in an EDA sensor or an ECG for stress and heart health monitoring. Notably, Fitbit has experience working with the latter two technologies with the Fitbit Sense. Again, there’s no proof that the Pixel Watch will sport these particular features. A recent rumor from Business Insider also suggests the watch will only offer basic fitness tracking features.
In terms of processing power, rumors claim the Pixel Watch might forego the Qualcomm Snapdragon 4100 series in favor of a Samsung Exynos chipset. This is far from confirmed but reportedly stems from Wear OS code uncovered by 9to5Google. It makes a world of sense for Google to go with 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 outdoor activity tracking.
Interestingly, Google’s also taking a keen interest in developing a “next-generation Assistant,” according to evidence uncovered by 9to5Google. This revamp would include onboard computational smarts akin to Google’s Pixel smartphones. This suggests that Google may need to focus on the Pixel Watch’s number-crunching abilities while also keeping power consumption in check.
Of course, the demand for processing power could come at the cost of battery life. Per Business Insider sources, the Pixel Watch in its current guise requires daily charging. Charging speeds are also reportedly far too slow. Notably, battery endurance is a significant weakness of the Galaxy Watch 4. Daily charging would be pretty annoying for those who currently own a Garmin or Fitbit, but it wouldn’t be a major issue for Apple Watch floor-crossers.
Pricing and availability
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority
Samsung Galaxy Watch 4
Finally, how much will the Google Pixel Watch cost, and when can you buy one?
According to The Verge‘s sources, the Pixel Watch will “cost more than a Fitbit,” but that itself is a pretty vague statement. We could be looking at a ~$300 price tag if it’s the Fitbit Sense, but even this may be too expensive for a Google smartwatch only focusing on basic health tracking.
As for availability, we’d expect Google to offer the Pixel Watch for preorder soon 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.