To say there’s been a frenzy of info surrounding the upcoming Pixel Watch would be a vast understatement. In just the past few weeks we’ve gone from having leaked renders we’ve known about for a year at this point to having an official name, a full-blown hands-on, and even an AMA from the guy who happened across the Pixel Watch in the wild. It’s been a whirlwind of Pixel Watch activity over the past couple weeks, so in the event that you missed any of it, we want to get you caught up on Google’s new wearable.
Taking a look back
Let’s start at the beginning, shall we? Just a tad over a year ago, we caught wind of the very first renders of the Pixel Watch. Jon Prosser over at Front Page Tech broke the internet with gorgeous renders of this round, sleek, colorful smartwatch that looked absolutely primed to launch alongside the similarly-colored Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro. As we all know, that launch never happened, and nothing but silence followed until 8 months later in December of 2021 when we finally heard that the Pixel Watch wasn’t dead and that we could expect a spring 2022 launch.
Just days later, thanks again to Front Page Tech, we got our first look at press renders and promotional materials for the Pixel Watch. This was the first look at what we now know about the Pixel Watch’s aim as a smart watch. With promotional slides containing language like “Your route at a glance”, “Your world at a glance”, and “Your health at a glance”, it became clear that Google’s take on WearOS would be far more like Fitbit with glanceable info at the ready and less like most WearOS watches that attempt to be more like a smartphone on your wrist. As a Fitbit guy myself, this revelation only made me that much more interested in the Pixel Watch.
In that same month, we also got the first leak of the actual watch faces in a software form – not just rendered images – as 9to5 Google plucked a whole group of Pixel Watch clock faces right out of the Android Studio WearOS emulator. This not only confirmed the genuine nature of the leaks we’d already seen up to this point, it also gave us the first look at Fitbit complications on the Google-made device. While not a surprise as Google purchased Fitbit back in late 2019, this leak was our first confirmation that the buyout would bear fruit in Google’s first in-house watch.
Rounding out the leaks for the month of December, we also caught wind of the fact that the Pixel Watch would be getting access to the next-gen Assistant we see on Pixel phones along with some sort of Samsung Exynos SoC inside. Both of these tidbits – from 9to5 Google again – make sense as the on-device version of the Google Assistant will be very helpful on your wrist and the Tensor processor we have in the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro are basically re-tooled Exynos chips. If the Pixel Watch launches with Tensor inside (which it should), seeing references to Exynos inside only makes sense.
More news for the new year
That brings us to the new year, where we’d waited nearly a month since the last Pixel Watch leak. At this point, we were still hoping for an early spring release, but a new update from Jon Prosser changed all of that. According to his sources, the Pixel Watch launch date had moved to May 26th and that roughly lined up with the general timeline of Google I/O 2022 – we clearly didn’t know the dates for Google’s developer conference back then, but a May launch lined up perfectly for a conference that has always been held in May.
After that, we had a few months with no Pixel Watch news and, frankly, I just thought things would stay quiet until I/O. But in March, Android Police published a report stating that they had a source claiming the Pixel Watch had shown up in a cell phone carrier’s inventory with 3 colors: gray, black and gold. They also added that the watch would come with 32GB of storage, matching the Apple Watch as the largest-capacity watch you can currently buy.
Then came the news that the Pixel Watch would be delayed, but teased at Google I/O 2022. While this was a bit of a bummer to hear, it made sense. If chip shortage issues were causing delays, it would be best to at least show off the watch and release it at a later date if necessary. According – once again – to Jon Prosser, that was the plan moving forward. Tease it at I/O, release it later in the year – maybe even as late as the fall with Pixel 7.
Opening the floodgates
And then things really started heating up. Just last week, Google reorganized the menu in the Google Store to replace “Fitbit” with “Watches,” clearly a move that gets the storefront ready for the Pixel Watch. Then, just a day after, a new render of the front of the Pixel Watch emerged with the Fitbit complications prominently displayed. And a few days later, a patent filing was entered by Google for the name “Pixel Watch.” While none of this was a surprise, we now had renders coming from multiple sources and the name nailed down officially as Pixel Watch.
And then the floodgates absolutely broke open. While I’m not sure I buy the whole “found left behind at the bar” storyline that was provided, a guy clearly got ahold of an in-development Pixel Watch and shared all sorts of photos of the exterior with Android Central. And then hopped on Reddit to do an AMA, laying out details like the size of the watch – close to the 46mm Galaxy Watch 4 – and the fact that the buttons and digital crown feel premium and Apple Watch-like. He also showed off the proprietary bands and gave us all a look at the sensors underneath, along with a close-up look at the speaker port on the side.
What he was unable to do, however, is give us any insight on the software part of the equation. With no way to charge the device, the Pixel Watch we now have all sorts of images of can’t power on, so we have no idea yet how the software will work or feel or look in a more official sense. For now, we’re still leaning on the renders and promotional materials to give us an idea of how Google will implement the OS on the Pixel Watch.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is all we know about the Pixel Watch right now. We don’t have official pricing info, we don’t have full confirmation of how the software will work, and we don’t really know how things like the digital crown will interact with the device. What we know is the hype is real and we’re all pretty excited to see what Google delivers with the Pixel Watch. Will it be a Fitbit with a little more polish, or are we looking at the Apple Watch competitor Android fans have been waiting for? Only time will tell on that front, and I have to believe at this point Google is ready to show it off in some way, shape or form at Google I/O 2022 in just a couple weeks from now.