According to a source close to the situation and a fresh story from Insider, Google is finally working on its own smartwatch, which will debut in 2022.
While Google has been making its own smartphones for years under the Pixel brand (which has subsequently expanded to include other peripherals such as wireless headphones), the firm has never made its own smartwatch, despite having a companion wearable platform for Android since 2014.
Google’s Pixel hardware group is working on the watch (codenamed “Rohan”) apart from Fitbit, which Google purchased for $2.1 billion earlier this year. According to Insider, the new upcoming Google watch — it’s unclear whether Google will actually call it a “Pixel Watch” yet — will serve much the same purpose as the Pixel phones do for Android: it will serve as an example for both consumers and hardware partners of what Google’s software can do when given the right hardware. According to The Verge’s source, the device would cost more than a Fitbit and will compete more directly with the Apple Watch.
The watch will have basic fitness monitoring functions like step counting and a heart rate monitor, and Google is said to be working on a Fitbit integration within Wear OS (codenamed “Nightlight”) for when it comes.
With Wear OS 3, Google is now reinventing its wristwatch platform for the third time. Unlike previous versions of Wear OS (or Android Wear), Wear OS 3 was created in collaboration with Samsung, combining Google’s Tizen platform with its own. However, Wear OS 3 is now only available on Samsung’s Galaxy Watch 4, which runs a substantially customized version of the new operating system that foregoes most of Google’s services and apps in favor of Samsung’s own.
According to a 2019 report, Google almost had a “Pixel Watch” in the past. The LG Watch Sport and LG Watch Style, which were released in 2017, were supposed to be sold under the Pixel brand, but a staffer told Insider that Google hardware executive Rick Osterloh rejected the idea because they “didn’t look like what belonged in the Pixel family.” When they first came out, neither device wowed us.
However, the announcement of a Google-built smartwatch isn’t entirely unexpected. An in-house Wear OS wearable was already on the horizon, Osterloh told The Verge’s Dieter Bohn earlier this year, stressing that Google’s acquisition of Fitbit was still “quite early in the integration.” Osterloh did say that “you’ll see them [the Fitbit team] construct wearables on Wear OS in the future,” and that the team is “hard at work on that,” though it’s unclear whether he was talking to the Rohan watch or something else.