Thanks to a bit of digging by the folks over at 9to5 Google, we now know that there will be a dedicated, standalone Pixel Watch app for Android users to accompany the new hardware Google is ready to launch this fall. While there is already a Wear OS app for standard watches powered by Google’s wearable operating system, it looks like Google will take the Pixel Buds route and has a dedicated app being readied for those who take the Pixel Watch plunge later this year.
References found in the Google Play Services app version 22.22 point to the earlier-announced Smart Unlock feature coming to Android 13 that will allow wearables to easily unlock your linked devices: like tablets and Chromebook. Interestingly, in these references to Smart Unlock, there is specific language about pairing up your Pixel Watch (Smart Unlock will only work on certain Wear OS devices) via the Pixel Watch App. So not only are we seeing reference to a new application, we’re seeing that the Pixel Watch may be unique in this feature at least at first when it arrives.
I’d wager there will be a good chance that this app will come baked into the Pixel phone experience much like we see with the Pixel Buds app. For users who own a Pixel, it will be there right out of the box to get things paired up, set up, and running. For those on other Android devices, it will be a downloadable application that will provide much of the same functionality that Pixel phone users get, but won’t be baked into their Android build without a separate download and install.
I know I’m not alone in looking very forward to these features. For one, I want a seamless, simple and powerful connection between my watch and phone. The Pixel Watch app should make that happen. Second, I want my watch to unlock my Chromebook when I’m near. I’m not sure exactly how it will work, but having extra ways for Chromebooks to unlock is a big win. As devices that aim towards lower cost, sometimes the fingerprint scanner is left out of the mix on even mid-range Chromebooks. Being able to simply walk up to my Chromebook and have it unlock from my watch will be a very welcome ability.