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The puzzle pieces of the Pixel Watch are falling into place

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After years of rumors and false starts, it seems we’re finally, Finally seeing a Pixel Watch with Wear OS.

We’ve been hearing rumors about the Pixel Watch for the past few months, but what made me think of all of this was a recent leak from Evan Blass. Earlier today Blass . posted a screenshot on Twitter of an interactive tutorial teasing a “Pixel Rohan” with Wear OS 3.1. Blass also captioned the tweet by saying, “It won’t be long now” — a nod to the very likely possibility that Google will tease the Pixel Watch at next month’s Google I/O.

Nothing about this is incredibly surprising if you’ve been paying attention. It was always likely that the Pixel Watch would use Wear OS, though for a while there was speculation that Google might opt for a digital-analog hybrid† However, this relatively minor leak confirms that 2022 will be a turning point for Google’s wearables ambitions.

Essentially, this is the culmination of at least three years of Google laying the groundwork for a true Apple Watch competitor. In early 2019, Google paid $40 million to buy the smartwatch technology from Fossil and some of the company’s research and development team. Fossil has long been one of Google’s most prominent wearable partners, and at the time, Google said the move was indicative of the company’s commitment to wearables. Later that year, Google emphasized: a renewed focus on “ambient computing” at its Made by Google event before closing out 2019 by donating $2.1 billion for Fitbit.

Not much happened on Google’s wearable front in 2020. Fitbit continued to release products under the Fitbit brand, though its smartwatches did Download Google Assistant. Likewise, Wear OS continued to see incremental updates. However, Google opened the door wide in 2021 at I/O, announcing that it was partnering with Samsung to create a new unified version of its long-standing Wear OS platform. The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 lineup then debuted in late 2021 with Wear OS 3.

The fossil generation 6

Google has been laying the foundation for an internal smartwatch since at least 2019.
Photo by Dieter Bohn / The Verge

Which brings us to 2022 – the first year when the new Wear OS platform will be available on more than just Samsung smartwatches. Last year, Google said that existing Wear OS watches from Fossil and Mobvoi will be eligible for an upgrade in the second half of this year. Google has been hinting at future Fitbit integrations for some time now, and Fitbit CEO James Park has also hinted several times that a Fitbit Wear OS watch is coming. (Although it’s hard to say when.) Google also recently received FDA approval for passive atrial fibrillation monitoring on Fitbit devices. Since Google owns Fitbit, it’s not hard to imagine that it will also benefit from Fitbit’s years of research into advanced health technology features. Qualcomm — whose lackluster Snapdragon Wear chipsets have also contributed to Wear OS’s struggle to overtake its competitors — is also expected to release a more powerful chip sometime this year.

In fact, all the pieces fall into place. Of course there are still many questions. Will the Pixel Watch focus primarily on fitness and wellness or will it also include more smart features like LTE connectivity? Will this work equally well with all Android phones or will it prioritize Google’s own Pixel ecosystem? What about iOS? We probably won’t have these answers until the second half of this year. But one thing is certain. This is a big year for Google’s wearable platform — and closing it out with a Pixel Watch would be a great way to make a statement.

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