Google fans have been patiently waiting for a smartwatch designed by the team behind the Google Pixel smartphone range for years. Ahead of almost every event, there are rumours that Google is poised to launch its long-fabled smartwatch, which will compete with the likes of the Apple Watch, Samsung Galaxy Watch, Moto 360, and OnePlus Watch. With Google kickstarting its developers conference tonight (after scrapping the event last year due to the ongoing public health crisis), there are whispers that a Pixel Watch launch could finally be here.
Jon Prosser, who hosts YouTube show Front Page Tech – and is a reliable source of as-yet unannounced gadgets from Apple, Google, and Samsung, has unveiled some of the latest announcements products coming from Google. To protect the identity of his sources, Prosser hands leaked images and information to designers, who create three-dimensional renders of the device. It is these renders that Prosser shares with his sizeable audience on YouTube.
Ahead of the Google IO 2021, Prosser has seemingly unmasked the design of the next flagship smartphone series from Google. Dubbed Pixel 6, the new handset looks set to boast a redesigned camera bump that stretches across the entire width of the device. This will purportedly house two camera sensors – a main wide-angle camera and an ultra-wide lens – as well as an LED flash. It seems the motion-sensing technology found on the Pixel 4, but skipped in the Pixel 5, definitely isn’t making a comeback this year, with the display on the front of the handset interrupted only by a small cut-out for the selfie camera.
In one of the renders shared by Jon Prosser, a svelte colour-matched smartwatch can be seen next to the Pixel 6. In the past, Prosser has claimed that a wearable from the same R&D department behind the Pixel smartphones series is incoming. Sources speaking to Prosser revealed the smartwatch would have a circular display – a departure from the rounded square found on the market-leader in this category, the Apple Watch.
The renders reveal a svelte watch with almost no bezel around the screen, no physical buttons on the side, and interchangeable watch straps.
Another prominent tipster, Max Weinbach, has backed up the report from Prosser, claiming that his sources have also pointed to a circular Pixel Watch coming soon. The wearable, which will bring smartphone notifications to your wrist alongside fitness tracking features, will be powered by Wear OS.
This operating system, designed by Google, is available on smartwatches and fitness trackers built by third-party manufacturers, exactly like Android. Wear OS and Android work seamlessly together, however, despite Android being the most popular mobile operating system on the planet …adoption of Wear OS hasn’t exactly taken off.
With a Pixel Watch on the horizon, it’s possible Google now wants to show other manufacturers what is possible with its Wear OS platform.
It’s also worth noting that Google recently bought Fitbit, so there’s clearly plenty of expertise around sleep tracking, wellness and stress sensing, contactless payments from your wrist, and other clever smartwatch feature we haven’t really seen in Wear OS before.
Fitbit recently announced a slate of new devices, which were likely in the works for years before Google opened its wallet, so it’s unlikely we’ll see a joint Google-Fitbit product announced during Google IO. However, it’s possible that Pixel Watch – if it does appear on-stage – will have some interactivity with Fitbit.
Allowing Pixel Watch owners to compete in fitness challenges with Fitbit wearers could be a huge boost for the platform.
Another WearOS rumour from Korean publication MT suggests the next entry in the Samsung Galaxy Watch series will use Wear OS instead of Samsung’s own Tizen. That only makes sense if Wear OS can match feature-for-feature that is already available on Tizen OS (which it definitely cannot do at the moment). If the switcheroo turns out to be true, it’s possible we’ll hear about Samsung moving its popular wrist-worn gadgets to the Google-developed operating system during Google IO.
Pixel Watch fans won’t have long to wait to see if Prosser and Weinbach are right. Google CEO Sundar Pitchai kicks off the keynote presentation tonight at 6pm. Express.co.uk will be in the (virtual) crowd to bring you all of the latest developments as they happen. So stay tuned.