The one true Android Wear device was finally unveiled by Google at their I/O 2022 keynote, with more details coming during the Pixel Watch launch this fall.
When you think of how far Apple’s progressed with their Watch, it’s worth considering how the Apple Watch has only gotten this far because Apple controls every part of its experience. The Watch is a part of Apple’s expansive product ecosystem, feeding off the innovations of the iPhone and other devices. Apple designs the Watch’s hardware, and even its software, controlling and calibrating the Watch’s UX on every level. That’s honestly why the Apple Watch is MILES ahead of anything Samsung, Garmin, Fossil, or other companies have produced. Google’s Pixel Watch may shuffle things up.
Unveiled by Rick Osterloh himself, the Pixel Watch finally puts Google in the Smartwatch market (not counting the Motorola smartwatch that was released years ago). After years of ‘will they won’t they’ and even a mildly embarrassing leak last month where someone left a Pixel watch at a bar, Google finally announced the Pixel Watch, a beautifully smooth circular watch that finally puts years of Google’s Wear OS work to fruition, along with the acquisition of Fitbit that happened in 2019. Osterloh didn’t provide too many details on the Pixel Watch (given that it won’t be officially launched until this fall), but he did dwell slightly on the watch’s circular design, its tactile crown, recycled stainless steel body, and interchangeable watch strap system. “It’s all designed to be tappable, voice-enabled, and glanceable, so you can be more present at home, at work, or on the go”, Osterloh added.
However, keen observers may have noticed that as Osterloh highlighted the Pixel Watch’s features (which include Maps, Google Wallet, Notifications, and Google Fit integration) the UI being demonstrated behind him showed a watch with a relatively dark UI – a tough yet necessary choice because the Pixel Watch has TREMENDOUSLY thick bezels. Now I’m not one to bezel-shame any device, but when you’re working with a display as small as the one on the Pixel Watch, bezels are a true enemy of usability, eating into crucial space that could be used to display a whole lot of other information. I’m being incredibly optimistic, but I really love the Pixel Watch’s design, bezel not-withstanding, and I have my fingers crossed that the device they unveil this fall will have a larger display with a smaller black band around its edge.