Pixel Watch: Everything we know so far

Pixel Watch, the presumed name for Google’s rumored smartwatch, has a Herculean task when it arrives later this year as outside of Samsung’s Galaxy Watch the market for premium Android smartwatches has been nearly non-existent. Wear OS suffered from years without a compelling Qualcomm SoC to power these watches and Google’s rudderless management of the platform.

Thanks in large part to a partnership announced with Samsung at Google I/O last year, Wear OS got a much-needed visual and performance upgrade. The Galaxy Watch 4 and Galaxy Watch 4 Classic helped skyrocket the market share for Wear OS late last year, but the platform needs more options and maybe Google can provide one.

Here’s a look at everything that we know so far regarding the Pixel Watch including the expected release date, pricing, specs and more. 

Pixel Watch: Price and availability

A recent hardware leak from a Reddit user gave us a potential look at the hardware, but the majority of the information available at present still tracks back to Jon Prosser. After an initial claim that the Pixel Watch might be released in October 2021 alongside the Pixel 6 proved incorrect, he moved to a Q1 2022 projection.

Ahead of the October 2021 Pixel event, Prosser indicated, “Last I heard, it was delayed until Q1 2022.” In early December an extensive report from Insider also claimed the Pixel Watch would arrive in 2022, but didn’t offer more specific timing. Prosser weighed in again in January with a prediction of May 26 for the release date which lines up reasonably well with an announcement at Google I/O (May 11-12).

Pixel Watch Don’t expect it at the event tomorrow. Last I heard, it was delayed until Q1 2022.It’s still happening, just not tomorrow. https://t.co/Rd0dGN3yekOctober 18, 2021

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We have no official information regarding pricing yet of course, but the Insider report claimed it would be closer to Apple Watch pricing than Fitbit. That suggests a starting price of anywhere from $299 to $399. Some rumors have suggested three variants of the Pixel Watch including one with 4G LTE connectivity, which would open it up to a wider price range.

Given the Apple Watch SE’s $279 starting price and Google’s lack of standing in this market, the expectation is that it will start at the lower end of that range. However, it’s possible Google views the budget wearable realm as the place for its Fitbit offerings. Google indicated at Google I/O Fitbit hardware running the new Wear OS is coming, but we have no definite rumors on that timing yet.

(Image credit: @jon_prosser x @rendersbyian)Pixel Watch: Design

The earliest design images were renders created by @rendersbyian in cooperation with Jon Prosser based on alleged images and marketing materials that Prosser received in the aforementioned leak. The Insider report essentially mirrored Prosser’s design claims. 

The subsequent prototype leak, which does seem legitimate, bears out most of what we heard in these early leaks. The rounded design isn’t unique among Android watches, but the curved waterfall display is unusual and gives the watch a sleek look. The crown on the right side of the watch is slightly more pronounced than the Apple Watch, but is otherwise similar. The crown also functions as a button and a secondary button is located on the side of the watch. 

(Image credit: Reddit/u/tagtech414)

The biggest break from the renders is that the body of the watch looked incredibly thin, while the prototype is 14mm thick, roughly 30% thicker than the Apple Watch Series 7. The prototype’s display is 40mm, matching the base Galaxy Watch 4 and slightly smaller than the 41mm base Apple Watch Series 7. Presumably, a larger model at 44-46mm will also be available.

(Image credit: Reddit/u/tagtech414)

It seems there are two color options for the body of the watch, silver and black. The digital crown is color-matched with the silver model having a white center to the crown. Bands can easily be swapped, but it does look like it has a proprietary connector. Other than the connection point that snaps into the watch, the band shown with the prototype looks identical to the standard Fitbit band. The earlier leaks suggested there would be at least 20 band options at launch.

(Image credit: Android Central)Pixel Watch: Features

Here things get much more uncertain. The rumors to date have had almost nothing to say about specific hardware features beyond the design. Returning again to the Prosser leak, he speculated that this could be running on some form of Google’s silicon like the Pixel 6, but he did not seem confident of that. That would leave the Snapdragon Wear 4100 as the only real option.

(Image credit: tagtech414)

From a software standpoint, this will be running Wear OS, so we can expect all of those basics. However, the forthcoming Wear OS will bring new glanceable tiles to the interface along with some other new features. The Insider report added that it would feature Fitbit integration, but didn’t have any details on it. Droid Life spotted a survey from Google back in February asking users to gauge interest in a couple of dozen health and fitness features for wearables, so it seems clear fitness is going to get a stronger push with this wearable.

(Image credit: @jon_prosser x @rendersbyian)Outlook

The Pixel Watch looks amazing in the renders and while the prototype is thicker, it still looks compelling, but performance and battery life are big questions left unanswered. Google also faces stiff competition with the Galaxy Watch 4 and Galaxy Watch 4 Classic quickly becoming the most popular Wear OS devices in years.

The Snapdragon 4100 believed to be in the Pixel Watch was announced in June of 2020, but we didn’t get many smartwatches using it until last fall. We need time to see whether it lives up to the hype after four years without any meaningful new processors for Wear OS. The rest will likely have to wait until we get our hands on the Pixel Watch. Google has proven with its Pixel phones that it is capable of an impressive melding of hardware and software, but it needs to prove itself when it comes to wearables. 

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