From the beginning of Google’s wearable strategy, it has always relied on other OEMs to carry the hardware torch for its software. However, since Wear OS 3 arrived last year, the calls for an official Google Pixel Watch have only grown in number.
Unfortunately, leakers have promised an imminent Pixel Watch arrival since 2016, until we learned in 2019 that Google had given up on making one because its prototype “didn’t work that great,” quashing those rumors. Then, after Google IO 2021 revealed the new Wear OS ecosystem, leakers promised the Pixel Watch would arrive alongside the Pixel 6, only for Google to (allegedly) delay it again.
So with leakers now promising a 2022 Pixel Watch release, we may be setting ourselves up for disappointment once again. But dive into the leaks, and you’ll find legitimate and consistent evidence that a new watch could arrive soon. Here’s what we know so far about the Pixel Watch.
Pixel Watch: Announcement and release date
As of right now, we don’t have anything official from Google in terms of a Pixel Watch being released this year. But the current Google I/O rumor from leaker Jon Prosser is that the company will be “teasing” the Pixel Watch at the event on May 11, but won’t actually launch it until October 2022 alongside the Pixel 7.
Prosser has previously suggested the watch would launch in October 2021, Q1 2022, and after Google I/O along with the Pixel 6a. Whether you blame that on Google’s shifting goalposts or unreliable sources, it’s fair to say that the watch won’t arrive anytime soon.
Another Pixel Watch leak suggested the watch, codenamed “Rohan,” could arrive in spring 2022, and that Google was already allowing people to test prototypes outside the company. But that spring date was contingent upon a successful test, so the new October release date could mean further problems with the watch — or simply that these leaks were wrong.
Curiously, with all of the leaks, the name Pixel Watch has only been a theory until recently when Google actually applied to trademark the moniker that many of us have been using for months. The actual Pixel Watch release date at this point would likely be mid to late October, depending on when the Google Pixel 7 event takes place.
Pixel Watch: Price and models
Unlike the Pixel Watch release date, we haven’t heard any rumors about the Pixel Watch price. Since this is Google’s first foray into making its own smartwatch, we can only speculate at this stage.
Google will want it to be competitive against the Galaxy Watch 4 series and Apple Watch Series 7, which would mean a price somewhere in the $250 to $400 range, with Apple’s watches on the higher side. It could theoretically go even lower, but Google already has Fitbit to target the $200-and-under crowd. And given Google’s commitment to making the Pixel brand affordable, it’s not likely to trend any higher.
One thing is clear: we’ve seen no evidence in all these leaks of multiple Pixel Watch models. Barring any evidence to the contrary, we believe Google will sell a single, bezel-less, compact watch, following Apple’s lead instead of Samsung’s.
We’ll also note that because the Pixel Watch allegedly has Fitbit integration with its watch faces, you may end up wanting to pay for a Fitbit Premium subscription, which would add an additional $10/month on top of the watch’s cost.
Pixel Watch: Design
While we don’t expect to see more than a single model of the Pixel Watch, if a recent inventory leak is accurate, we will get three Pixel Watch color options: black, gray, and gold. We’ve also seen leaked renders of the Pixel Watch that give us a hypothetical glimpse of the rumored smartwatch.
In a big twist to the Pixel Watch story, Android Central was able to offer exclusive pictures of the upcoming wearable thanks to an engineering sample being left at a restaurant in the U.S. The device had been left there “for a few weeks expecting the people that left it to return, but that never happened,” according to a Reddit post the source posted after the initial reporting of the story.
In the device photos, we can see that earlier renders were pretty accurate. The watch sports a very minimalist design. It also looks like Google will go with a single rotating crown on the right-center of the case, with buttons on the underside of the casing. This look helps to give the watch an even cleaner look and still maintain functionality.
As for color options for the watch case, in the photos of the engineering sample, you can see that the entire face of the device is black with a bright silver material being used to encase the watch. It’s unclear whether the case material is made from stainless steel, polished aluminum, or something else. Our source who provided the information did state that the watch is very well made. But if the previous leaks are true, we may end up getting both a black and silver choice case for users.
Then, last December, leaked Pixel Watch marketing materials reaffirmed the flat, edge-to-edge design that evokes the 2015 Moto 360. If a final Pixel Watch gets released and it keeps the design seen in the sample that was left behind, it seems that fans of the original Moto 360 will get that beloved look back but in a more pebble-like style with the rounded edges.
A recent leaked image shows a potential design for the Pixel Watch, with the rotating crown and a hidden button for Google Assistant in the top-right. This suggests the watch could have two buttons, or three if a second button appears on the bottom-right.
A more unfortunate rumor is that the Pixel Watch will use proprietary bands that attach directly to the watch case. While it looks attractive, it’ll make swapping out watch bands extremely difficult. Most of the other top Android smartwatches give you more leeway to change bands, putting the Pixel Watch at a potential disadvantage.
Pixel Watch: Specs and software
We know that Google will use the new Wear OS 3 co-developed by Google and Samsung. But given its hypothetical timing at Google I/O 2022 and leaked renders of the software, we can expect Google to put its own Pixel-esque spin on the software compared to how Samsung handled it on the Galaxy Watch 4.
Unfortunately, our source was unable to turn on the engineering sample that had been left behind as the watch had run out of power. The only example of any UI or how the screen looks when turned is the image showing the Google ‘G’ logo.
An emulated look at “stock” Wear OS 3, seen above, shows rounded, pill-shaped menus that look fairly similar to the UI on the Galaxy Watch 4. But further digging unveiled a Material You-esque design, with varying color options and watch faces that change color from day to night. One of the changes that came with Wear OS 3 is the option for OEMs to put their own spin on how the UI looks with a “skin.” So, it would make sense for Google to give the software on a Pixel Watch a custom look like it did with the release of the Pixel 6.
Multiple sources have confirmed the Pixel Watch will support Fitbit integration, with some watch faces showing health data and the Fitbit icon. We’re curious to see how the Pixel Watch compares to future Fitbit models like the Fitbit Sense 2, given the company has promised to use Wear OS on future Fitbit smartwatches.
However unlikely, Google may even support Pixel Watch “skin gestures” based on a 2020 patent. In theory, the watch would use accelerometers to detect finger swipes on the skin around your watch with a “mechanical wave that propagates through the portion of a body of the user between an input region and the wearable device.” Google last tried gimmicky gesture controls with the Soli sensor found on the Pixel 4, so it’s not impossible Google would try this.
As for the Pixel Watch specs, 9to5Google found code hidden in a Google update indicating that the Pixel Watch (codename Rohan) will use an Exynos chipset, rather than the Snapdragon model found in most Wear OS 3-eligible watches. That suggests Google could copy Samsung and use the 5nm Exynos W920 instead — likely along with the same 1.5GB of RAM — or use the next-generation Exynos chip.
An Android Police leak indicated the Pixel Watch will have 32GB of memory and may have eSIM capabilities.
We don’t yet know the watch’s size, weight, battery capacity, or any other key information. But an aforementioned leak suggested the watch requires daily charging, which is disappointing but expected.
Wear OS 3
Samsung Galaxy Watch 4
Stylish, lightweight, and affordable
The Galaxy Watch 4 is one of the best smartwatches money can buy, thanks to its fast Exynos chip, excellent OLED display, and great battery life. Plus, it will seamlessly connect to your Galaxy phone and has the added benefit of optional LTE.