from google Pixel Watch has been under construction since years, and Google was happy to give hints as to what it was up to. (Admittedly, having a prototype deposited by an employee in a restaurant will also help take some of the wind out of any surprises you might have been planning.) Today, however, is the first time Google has really lifted the lid on its new portable flagship, and the first time we can see if it can make up for so many false starts in the race for watches.
The Pixel Watch has a 41mm case with a domed, custom-molded, scratch-resistant Gorilla Glass 5 crystal. At first glance, it’s clear that the curved crystal is very bulbous, but the upside is that the roundness makes the bezel much less noticeable. Below, users will be looking at an always-on, 320ppi AMOLED display with up to 1,000 nits of brightness. It’s powered by a 294mAh battery that Google claims will last 24 hours on a single charge, but can regenerate up to 50% after just 30 minutes on its magnetic charging plate. On the side is both a haptic crown, featuring “Premium Haptics”, and a side button.
There are two versions, a WiFi/Bluetooth model, and one containing its own LTE modem, which only costs $50 more. Both rock an Exynos 9110 SoC, paired with a Cortex M33 coprocessor, along with 32GB of storage and 2GB of RAM. Given that Pixel-branded devices are often the “best” of the class they represent, the choice not to use Qualcomm’s own portable SoC speaks volumes. After all, it’s the silicon of choice for every non-Samsung Wear OS watch these days, and there’s no mention of Google’s own brand of custom silicon, Tensor, here either.
Interestingly, Fitbit CEO James Park introduced the watch, and the watch comes with a lot of Fitbit-branded features. This includes activity, heart rate and sleep tracking, though bolstered by Google’s machine learning know-how. One of the standout features is live heart rate, with the device tracking your vital signs down to the second. There is also a built-in ECG. The additional health insights available with Fitbit Premium are also available to Pixel Watch users, as are Guided Workouts. This suggests that Google sees the Pixel Watch as the beneficiary of Google’s partnership with Fitbit, rather than simply absorbing the wearables brand under its own name. You’ll also, like all other Fitbit devices, get a free six-month trial of Premium with your purchase, plus three months of YouTube Music Premium added for free.
Aside from the Gorilla Glass crystal, the only other durability promise is that it will be water resistant up to (or down to) depths of 5 ATM. Oh, and Google says that by 2023 the Watch will be able to detect drops and, if you have the LTE version and don’t respond, it will call emergency services on your behalf.
It’s worth remembering that Google beat Apple by a full year in the wearables space, partnering with Motorola, Samsung, ASUS and LG. But the balkanized strategy employed and the general lack of sparkle of these initial versions of Android Wear gave Apple much of the impetus. Since then, the Apple Watch alone has sold out to every other major wearable device player pretty much every quarter since. It wasn’t until Samsung teamed up with Google to rework Wear OS that Google’s platform hit double-digit sales percentages again.
And, just like Pixel phones, it’s likely that Google will be happy to sell a limited amount of devices to a small portion of the market. Especially since it must protect both the sales of Samsung, its partner, and Fitbit, its new 100% subsidiary. Although given that Samsung and Fitbit already cover pretty much every part of the wearables market between them, it’s unclear which specific group Google might be targeting here.
Analyst Ben Wood of CCS Insight agrees, saying “the Pixel Watch poses no threat to the Apple Watch” and that its existence is more to “educate Android smartphone owners about smartwatches and smartwatches.” encourage more of these people to consider buying a laptop.” For this to work, however, the Pixel Watch needs to become instantly desirable, especially given Google’s short patience with products that don’t instantly click with audiences.
The Google Pixel Watch is available in the stainless steel colors “Matte Black”, “Polished Silver” or “Champagne Gold”. They are complemented by a variety of watch straps, which do not fasten with lugs, but with a camera lens.ish internal locking system which should make switching faster. He is available for pre-order nowwith the WiFi/Bluetooth model is priced at $349.99, while the LTE model will set you back $399.99, both should start shipping on October 13th.
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