Wearables

Upcoming: Google’s Pixel Watch

18th May 2022
Sam Holland

Following the news that Google is planning to release its smartwatch known as the Google Pixel Watch, this article looks at some of the features to expect and ultimately what they could mean for the wearables marketplace.

While the Pixel Watch is not planned for release until Autumn of this year, there have been some confirmed details, including the very appearance of the smartwatch (pictured above). On top of this, there have been reports of the device having exciting new features, many of which are covered in the next section.

Making the most of Wear OS

The confirmation of the Pixel Watch follows its unveiling at Google’s annual developer conference: Google I/O. Google I/O 2022 involved the design of the watch being confirmed (or rather re-confirmed given that some sources had already leaked what the device’s exterior may look like) along with the smartwatch’s Fitbit integrations – including heart rate and sleep monitoring – and its use of Google’s wearable-friendly OS (operating system): Wear OS.

While Wear OS has already been integrated in a host of existing watch brands such as Galaxy Watch, G-SHOCK, and Armani, the Pixel Watch will be the first smartwatch to not only have an operating system manufactured by Google – but outright be a Google smartwatch. The collective benefits of having an OS and device that have both been designed by the same company is one of several reasons that the watch will offer an especially intuitive user experience (UX).

Another reason for such an enhanced UX is that the Pixel Watch is also being designed with smart homes in mind: Wear OS offers the free and open-source home automation software Home Assistant. This will allow the watch wearers to control their domestic devices, such as their smart lights and smart blinds, based on their personal preferences without evening needing to use their smartphone.

And in fact, as this article on ES reflects, the best smartwatches will be ‘untethered’ from (i.e. not wholly reliant on) smartphones altogether, and it seems that Google has taken such thinking into account: not only will the Pixel Watch be able to use Google Maps, the app will function without needing to be in close proximity to its wearer’s smartphone. (This is also a key feature of other smartwatches that have both Wear OS and GPS capabilities.)

A sign of improvement in the wearables marketplace

Technology such as the Pixel Watch is a reflection of just how serious the wearables marketplace is becoming. As many users are concerned over their health, as well as their overreliance on their smartphones, a smartwatch that offers advanced compatibility with Fitbit and non-smartphone-reliant apps may be a good sign that wearables are set to be a staple technology in their own right.

One concern that the wearables market is still burdened by, however, is the question of power management. The uncertainty around how long a smartwatch battery will last is a crucial one. After all, many people already dislike having to remember to charge their smartphone every day, so adding an additional power-hungry device is a potential pitfall – especially when you factor in the smart, ‘always-on’ nature of smartwatches and the energy drainage that comes with such features.

Nevertheless, even this is rumoured (but far from confirmed) to have been addressed by Google who may (may!) have integrated a codenamed feature called Blackghost. This is a system-on-chip integration that would allow the watch to always listen out for its wake word (e.g. ‘Hey Google’) without substantial battery drainage.

As is always the case with upcoming tech trends, only time will tell what are rumours and what are facts. But regardless, it is devices such as the soon-to-be released Pixel Watch that makes it clear how much potential the smart tech marketplace has for the future.

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