Google announced itson Wednesday, furthering the tech giant’s expansion into hardware. The company teased its first smartwatch during its conference, but plans to reveal more details closer to the device’s fall launch.
The watch has a circular domed design, runs on Google’s Wear OS smartwatch software, and includes somehealth tracking features. Google didn’t announce a price, but said it will be sold as a premium product.
The Pixel Watch represents Google’s first major move into the smartwatch market, with shipments up 24% in 2021, according to Counterpoint Research. Google is a newcomer to this market. Rivals likeY they lead the market and have been selling smartwatches for years. The company sees its new smartwatch as crucial to building its Pixel brand into a full ecosystem of products similar to those offered by Apple and Samsung, spanning phones, tablets, wireless headphones and smartwatches.
“You have youryou have your you have YouTube Music,” said Ramón Llamas, director of research at International Data Corporation, a market research firm. “And now all of a sudden you see this more than in previous years, a much clearer front-end competitor. to Apple.”
The announcement comes more than a year laterit closed in January 2021. While the Fitbit team is driving the development of the Pixel Watch, Google doesn’t plan to merge the two product lines, according to Rick Osterloh, senior vice president of devices and services at Google.
says James Park, the Fitbit founder who now runs Google’s wearables division. Those who care about having more traditional smartwatch features like LTE support in addition to health tracking will likely opt for the Pixel Watch, while the Fitbit Charge would be ideal for consumers who care more about fitness and The battery life.
“The great thing about combining the Pixel and Fitbit is that we can collectively offer these different devices,” Park said in an exclusive interview with CNET’s Scott Stein ahead of Google I/O. “People can pick and choose what’s best for them.”
Familiar Fitbit features like Active Zone Minutes, which measures the amount of time spent in certain heart rate ranges during exercise, will be available on the Pixel Watch. Like many of today’s smartwatches, the Pixel Watch will also track sleep and heart rate.
The company hopes to add more Fitbit features in the future. “Over time, the Pixel Watch will have the most advanced health sensors,” Park said. “And we’ll be selective about how all of those features are included across the entire portfolio.”
Unlike the Pixel Watch, which will be Android-only, Fitbit’s products are also compatible with iPhones. Park said the company has no plans to discontinue support for iOS users on Fitbit products. “It’s really important to the Fitbit lineup,” he said.
Popular Google apps like Maps, Wallet, and Google Assistant will be part of the Pixel Watch, along with updated software that should feel “smooth” and “easy to navigate,” according to the company. The watch also has customizable bands and a touch crown similar to the one found on the Apple Watch.
For Google, launching a new hardware product like the Pixel Watch isn’t necessarily about selling the most units, according to Tuong Nguyen, a senior principal analyst at market research firm Gartner. It’s about keeping people using Google apps and services by giving them a bigger role in our lives. It’s a strategy that has worked well for Apple.
“Hardware is like a delivery mechanism,” Nguyen said. “And we should, at least maybe in the short to medium term, focus more on what it can do.”
The company did not announce pricing, availability, feature details, battery life, or other hardware-specific details such as clock processor, health sensors, or display type. These questions are likely to be answered in the fall, closer to the launch of the watch.
Google already has some clout in the smartwatch market thanks to its ownership of Fitbit and its Wear OS software platform, which powers watches from Fossil and Samsung, among others. Google will be a partner and competitor to these smartwatch manufacturers once the Pixel Watch debuts. By launching its first smartwatch, Google will also have the opportunity to showcase what the ideal Android watch experience should look like, just as its Pixel phones do for Android smartphones.
The company is best known for its ubiquitous search engine and digital services, but in recent years it has made a bigger push into hardware. The Pixel Watch will join Google’s current lineup of phones, smart home devices like connected thermostats and speakers, theand Chromecast streaming devices. It’s also just one of several new hardware products in Google’s pipeline. The company announced on Wednesday the Y , which will be released in July. He also anticipated the which will arrive in the fall, and a arriving in 2023.