Google Pixel Watch 2 just tipped for big design upgrade

Google Pixel Watch
(Image credit: Future)

The next Google Pixel Watch is strongly rumored to launch later this year alongside the Pixel 8 series, with tipped upgrades including a faster chip, longer battery life and improved wellness features. Now, new FCC filings that surfaced over the weekend suggest the Pixel Watch 2 could also introduce the metal mesh strap promised for its predecessor that never ended up materializing.

As first spotted by 9to5 Google, the filings refer to three models of the Pixel Watch 2: the G4TSL, GC3G8 and GD2WG. Companies submit these filings to the Federal Communications Commission's database for regulatory approval ahead of launch. G4TSL is likely the entry-level model with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. Interestingly, the report reveals it's been tested with "four strap materials," which include: a plastic active strap, a metal mesh strap, a metal link strap and a metal slim strap.

The metal link strap is likely the Metal Links Band available on the Pixel Watch today in two color options, Brushed Silver or Matte Black. What's new is the "metal slim strap," which just based on the name, seems to be a lighter version of the Metal Links Band. Google announced another metal band option called the "Metal Mesh Strap" for the Pixel Watch that mysteriously disappeared in April and never ended up hitting store shelves. So there's a chance this "metal slim strap" could be that scrapped band finally materializing, just with the Pixel Watch 2.  

No UWB support after all

As for the other two model numbers mentioned in the filings, odds are they're the cellular models of the Pixel Watch 2. The GC3G8 option supports LTE Band 5 and 7, while the GD2WG option supports LTE Band 2, 4, 5, 12, 13, 17, 25, 26, 66, and 71.

Curiously, the FCC filings make no mention of the ultra-wideband (UWB) support previously rumored for Google's next-gen smartwatch. UWB is the same short-range wireless communications Apple and other tech giants use in item trackers to enable precision finding. Google already included UWB chips in the Pixel 6 Pro and Pixel 7 Pro, and a previous leak suggested Google could be adding the tech to its line of smartwatches as well.

That no longer seems to be the case, which is a bit of a bummer. UWB support is a promising upgrade in the wearable space, useful for things like locating misplaced devices or even unlocking your car with just the tap of your watch. It's hardly a surprise, though, as Google recently announced it's delaying the expansion of its Find My Device network. The company said it's still finalizing personal safety protections, which it's working on in conjunction with Apple, to protect users against AirTag stalking and other potential abuses of UWB that pose safety risks.

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Alyse Stanley
News Editor

Alyse Stanley is a news editor at Tom’s Guide overseeing weekend coverage and writing about the latest in tech, gaming and entertainment. Prior to joining Tom’s Guide, Alyse worked as an editor for the Washington Post’s sunsetted video game section, Launcher. She previously led Gizmodo’s weekend news desk, where she covered breaking tech news — everything from the latest spec rumors and gadget launches to social media policy and cybersecurity threats.  She has also written game reviews and features as a freelance reporter for outlets like Polygon, Unwinnable, and Rock, Paper, Shotgun. She’s a big fan of horror movies, cartoons, and miniature painting.