The Pixel Watch has a great challenge ahead: not be one more

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There was Rick Osterloh, in a terrific jacket that conveniently hid his ace up his sleeve. After giving a little suspense to the moment, he taught one of the most anticipated devices of recent years: the Pixel Watch.

The announcement was bittersweet, because it was not a full-fledged launch: they only gave some details of a smartwatch that will arrive in the fall along with the Pixel 7/Pro. The little they told and the little we could see left few certainties and a great doubt: if this Pixel Watch will not end up being just another watch.

this sounds like me

The design is certainly striking: the box fades into an oval-shaped design from which only its tactile crown stands out and an almost invisible side button. The entire device—whether there would be one size or perhaps two was not discussed—looks almost like a glass disk, though recycled stainless steel is also involved.

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There are no visible physical frames, but the information does not take up the entire front of the screen.

The screen seemed to dominate everything in the images and clips shown by Google, and judging by the absolute dominance of the black background it seems reasonable to think that we are facing an OLED screen which with that massive use of dark background should contribute to better battery life.

What was also apparently clear with these images is that although there is no “box” that surrounds the clock screen, it will have some clearly sensitive frames. The information and the interface do not occupy the entire surface of the screen: there is a clear invisible frame that makes the use of the front is far from being total, at least according to what we could see during the event.

In Google they indicated that the straps would be interchangeable, although the mechanism and the straps seem proprietary judging by the images. In a later revealed image you could also see the back of the devicewhich is where the sensors that are essential for various functions in the field of health are integrated.

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The device will be governed by Wear OS – funny, last year they wanted the last name “OS” to disappear, but they used it in that ad – but they did not talk about that theoretical new version. They only mentioned that the user interface would be an improvement on the previous one and would have “smoother navigation and smart notifications”.

The screen will be touch, but its functions can also be controlled with voice and gestures. Osterloh mentioned How would it be possible to make queries about the time or use it to reach your destination through Google Maps “even without your phone” -thus pointing to a model with 4G connectivity-.

It was also revealed that they could make mobile payments thanks to the new Google Wallet, in addition to controlling home automation devices thanks to the new Google Home application for Wear OS.

However, Osterloh did talk about how his favorite feature of the Pixel Watch was its “deep integration with Fitbit,” which will come to these smartphones first—meaning it will eventually come to other Wear OS models as well—in order to have health and physical activity monitoring.

Among those options will be heart rate and sleep monitoring, the length of the training sessions—they called it the “Active Zone”—and the ability to track that activity and our goals. All very well, except for one detail.

What we can do all that now in today’s smartwatches. So the question is obvious.

What’s so special about you, Pixel Watch?

With the details provided by Google, it is difficult to know what will be the differential characteristic of this smart watch. There was no mention, for example, of its processorbut here we could have surprises: Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Wear have been complying, but they have done so in a modest way.

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Curious: there is no mention of support for iOS.

There are certain options to have a Pixel Watch governed by a variant of the Google Tensor chip that also powers their mobiles, but in the battle there are also the Snapdragon Wear 5100, which promise fewer nanometers, more power and more autonomy. This last section could be especially key to its potential success.

There is another interesting section: during the presentation that small print was shown, and in it there was no mention of iOS. That brings up an interesting difference from other Wear OS-based smartwatches: the Pixel Watch would not be compatible with the iPhone.

The philosophy it would be here identical to the one that Apple follows with its Apple Watchwhich can only be used —at least during first boot and get started—with an iPhone or an iPad. Samsung already did that with its Galaxy Watch4, the first Wear OS device since 2015 that didn’t support iOS.

This data is one of the most striking, since it would pose that more closed position: you will only be able to benefit from the new options of the Pixel Watch – new apps such as Google Wallet or Google Home, and of course the integration with fitbit – with an Android mobile. The reinforcement of the Android ecosystem It would therefore be one of the fundamental elements of the Pixel Watch.

Google neglects Wear OS and is missing a golden opportunity in smartwatches

google then wage open war which will either “be on the Pixel Watch” or “be on the Apple Watch”. What you choose will clearly mark the commitment to the Android ecosystem or the iOS ecosystem.

Integration with Fitbit is also one of the great promises of the watch. Since Google acquired that company at the end of 2019 – the operation did not conclude until January 2021—a clear impact of that strategic purchase had not been seen, and of course the unknowns about the scope of this integration are notable. Google Fit, yes, will coexist currently with Fitbit.

In fact, Google hardly gave any information about the sensors or that monitoring of physical activity and health beyond what we commented: that was expected, but If there has been a leading function in these devices for a long time, it is this: Google should theoretically take advantage of the potential of Fitbit to differentiate itself.

We are therefore facing a smart watch that can certainly mark a before and after for a segment that Google had neglected for years. It will be interesting to see how the Pixel Watch fares in the catalog of wearables based on Wear OS: Pixel phones have always had a limited range, perhaps not to anger partners in their Android ecosystem: we’ll see what happens with these Pixel Watch.

There was Rick Osterloh, in a terrific jacket that conveniently hid his ace up his sleeve. After giving a little…

There was Rick Osterloh, in a terrific jacket that conveniently hid his ace up his sleeve. After giving a little…

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