Google’s Pixel 6 deserves a Pixel Watch to go with it

Google’s Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro have been the company’s most interesting devices for years. They might actually achieve the Pixel’s ultimate goal of being the shining example of what Android phones can and should be capable of.

It’s high time Google followed suit with a Pixel Watch that does the same for Wear OS. It’s highly likely that Google is already working on something along these lines: when we asked, Rick Osterloh said The Rod Dieter Bohn says his own wearable Wear OS is only a matter of time. He noted that Google’s acquisition of Fitbit is still “pretty early on in the integration” since the purchase only took place a few months ago – it takes time to develop a product, after all. especially one with a new operating system that Fitbit has never used. before. But Osterloh teased that “you’ll see them [the Fitbit team] building wearables on Wear OS in the future ”, with the team already“ hard at work on this ”.

It’s no secret that Wear OS is in desperate need of flagship hardware (or any hardware, really). If you’re buying a shiny new Pixel 6 this week and looking for a smartwatch running the latest and greatest Wear OS 3.0 software, your only option is Samsung’s Galaxy Watch 4. All other Wear OS device is obsolete.

Now, the Watch 4 is by no means a bad smartwatch, but despite the new shared Tizen / Wear OS collaboration, it’s still a Samsung device. This means that everything from the basic UI and payments to the fitness tracker and virtual assistant are Samsung-flavored experiences, not Google’s. Google Assistant isn’t even available on Samsung’s watch, and most basic apps like Calendar, Weather, Contacts, and Calculator are set to Samsung’s default settings, not Samsung’s default settings. google options.

There aren’t many Google apps on the Galaxy Watch 4
Photo by Dieter Bohn / The Verge

The biggest say? If you want to use a Pixel 6 with a Galaxy Watch 4, you will need to install a suite of Samsung apps on your phone to use it properly, which would largely defeat the point of having a phone made by Google in the first place.

In all the years of Pixel phones, Google never really tried a Pixel Watch to go with it. The closest was in 2016, when the company was apparently working with LG on smartwatches before the Wear OS 2.0 relaunch. But according to one Business intern report, Google’s hardware manager Rick Osterloh himself killed the project just before the original Pixel’s release because they “didn’t look like what was in the Pixel family,” which led Google to to derive its name from the products. This turned out to be the right choice, because those LG wearable devices were, in layman’s terms, terrible (LG itself no longer makes Wear OS watches – or Android phones for that matter).

The company has repeatedly rejected suggestions that it could build a Pixel watch over the years, with Miles Barr, the former director of engineering for Wear OS, commenting in 2018 that Google was yet to agreement with the idea of ​​a “one size fits all -fits-all watch” and that Google “focuses for the moment on our partners”.

But years later, Google’s list of hardware partners is shrinking. In 2021, Wear OS has mostly been kept alive thanks to the hard work of the TicWatch line from Fossil and Mobvoi, neither of which scream “cutting edge consumer hardware”. Neither company has plans for a Wear OS 3.0 watch this year either. If Google wants a great smartwatch for Android users, it has to take the same approach as with the original Pixel: create a proper watch, designed by Google, that shows both customers and hardware partners how. proceed.

Apple and Samsung’s smartwatch efforts are a testament to the power of wearable quality when deep integration of hardware and software comes together. Owning an Apple Watch improves the use of your iPhone, giving you additional health trackers and better access to notifications, visible information, and things like controlling music on your wrist. But it’s not for nothing that the two best smartwatches – the Apple Watch and the Samsung Galaxy Watch – are devices that are really only suitable for owners of their respective smartphones.

Apple Watch Series 7 in green.

Photo by Vjeran Pavic / The Verge

A Pixel Watch could do the same for Google as the Apple Watch and the Galaxy Watch for Apple and Samsung: serve as a must-have accessory that helps Pixel owners grow in the Google ecosystem with more health services and Fitness.

The Pixel 6’s biggest innovation isn’t a specific AI feature or a camera upgrade. This is the ethics behind what Google was willing to pause, take a look at what this considered was important to have in a really awesome Android phone and then to build a bespoke device that specifically did these things. With Google effectively relaunching Wear OS for the third time with Wear OS 3.0, now is the time for Google to do the same for the wrist, building a bespoke Pixel Watch that could fulfill a similar role.

Google also has the tools to do this. Wear OS is in better shape than it has been in years, thanks to the Samsung partnership and an influx of new users to the platform (Samsung is one of the biggest players in the smartwatch world. outside of Apple). Qualcomm has relatively new Snapdragon 4100 chips ready for hardware partners, assuming Google isn’t just making its own internal Tensor-style chip for smartwatches.

And of course, in January, Google itself spent $ 2.1 billion to buy Fitbit, which has been at the forefront of fitness-focused wearable devices for years, on top of its mysterious $ 40 million purchase. dollars from smartwatch technology and Fossil’s R&D division in 2019. Just combine all the pieces together into the type of smartwatch that can rival – or even lead – the wearable space.

Which means that it might only be a matter of time before the Pixel 6 (or maybe a future Pixel 7) gets the Pixel Watch that Android fans have been waiting for – although ‘It’s possible, ironically, that when it arrives, The Savior of Android Wear OS might wear a Fitbit logo, not Google’s.