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Google Unveils New Pixel Watch – A New Rival to Apple Watch

Google Unveils New Pixel Watch - A New Rival to Apple Watch
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Google has put an end to the rumors and speculations surrounding the release of a Pixel Watch from the tech giant by officially confirming it at the Google IO 2022 event.

Chatters about Google venturing into the wearable space, which Apple currently dominates, have been ongoing for years. However, it heightened in 2019, following their acquisition of Fitbit. The chatters gained traction again in the days leading up to this year’s Google IO.

The tech giant finally announced and unveiled the design of the upcoming Pixel Watch while giving the keynote at its annual developer conference. According to the official announcement, the Pixel Watch will feature an “improved” Wear OS with support for native Google Apps and software available on Wear OS.

The Pixel Watch combines Google’s Wear OS with Fitbit’s health tracking technology. The watch can be paired with all Android devices with Android 8 or newer versions installed. It would also come with WiFi and cellular capabilities, allowing it to function independently without needing a phone.

According to Google, the Pixel Watch will launch later this autumn.

The Price of Google’s Pixel Watch

Although Google did not reveal how much the wearable will cost, it described it as a “premium product.”

As you would expect, there are already some speculations on the price of the Pixel Watch. It is rumored that Google will try to undercut the Apple Watch Series 7 and Samsung Galaxy Watch 4, priced at $399 and $249 respectively. Google did something similar when they launched the Pixel 6 series by undercutting the iPhone 13 and the Galaxy S22. Bearing that in mind, it is being speculated that the Pixel Watch would range between $200 to $350. Certainly, it wouldn’t be the cheapest smartwatch on the market.

Smartwatches have become widely popular in recent years. With the likes of Apple and Samsung dominating the market already Google will face stiff competition as it tries to get a slice of the market share.

What to Expect From Google’s Pixel Watch

Since there are already many third-party Android smartwatches, one may wonder what makes Google’s Pixel Watch exceptional. The senior vice-president of devices and services at Google, Rick Osterloh, addressed the concern, saying “Google’s ecosystem and Fitbit expertise” made the watch unique.

Google unveils Pixel watch

Google only unveiled the exterior design of the Pixel Watch during the I/O, leaving the internal design a mystery. The watch they displayed at the conference featured a round design and is silver in color. Google did not reveal whether there would be other size and color options for the watch.

Perhaps the most exciting news about the Google Pixel Watch is that it will leverage Fitbit’s technology. Google acquired Fitbit in 2019 for $2.1 billion. The company which was founded in 2007 swiftly became the leading fitness tracker in the wearable space. However, when the Apple Watch launched in 2015, it quickly became the best-selling wearable device, and Fitbit struggled to maintain dominance.

At the acquisition, Google said the deal would “help spur innovation in wearables” and promised that “Fitbit health and wellness data will not be used for Google ads.” On the other hand, Fitbit said, “many of the things you know and love about Fitbit will remain the same.”

Initially, the European Commission frowned at Google’s acquisition of Fitbit, citing the vast amount of health data as a major concern since Google’s revenue comes mainly from targeted advertising. Eventually, the commission gave the go-ahead for the acquisition when Google agreed not to use Fitbit’s data in their targeted advertising for 10 years. The commission reserved the right to extend the agreement by another 10 years. Another agreement Google entered with the EU was to maintain third-party developer access to Android APIs to allow some competition.

Pixel Watch vs Apple Watch

Apple Watch is currently the market leader in the global smartwatch market and a major competition the Pixel Watch would need to contend with. Apple classifies its smartwatch in the “wearables” category, including the AirPods. While they have not given any specific figures since the device went on sale in 2015, an analyst, Neil Cybart, estimates the number of activated Apple Watches at over 100 million.

Google’s Pixel Watch would need to boast several killer features to be considered a serious contender to the Apple Watch. That would include coming up with a stellar Wear OS experience and a variety of fantastic apps that meets the average user’s day-to-day needs. Already, we can gauge how the Wear OS performs on Samsung’s Galaxy Watch. However, since it works in conjunction with Samsung’s integrated UI, we would need to wait for Google to release the Pixel Watch with its integrated UI to see what they have up their sleeves.

Final Thoughts

Google’s Pixel Watch is one of the tech giant’s most anticipated products. Later this autumn, several people who have been anticipating its release will finally get a chance to see the smartwatch in action. Hopefully, it will live up to the hype surrounding it and perhaps surpass most critics’ expectations.