All has been quiet on the Pixel Watch front for a while — which is weird for a smartwatch that’s been rumored to be imminent for the better part of four years. Sure, we saw a possible Pixel Watch-themed patent recently, but the chances of seeing a wrist-based wearable at Google’s upcoming Pixel 5 reveal feel slim at this point.
So perhaps the best we’ve got for now are these wonderful concept images from designer James Tsai. Taking inspiration from current “Made By Google” devices, Tsai opts for a more playful aesthetic, even providing Google style names for each color: “milk white”, “sweet papaya” and “boba black.”
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Tsai imagines a watch that in design terms isn’t a million miles away from the plastic feel of early Withings fitness trackers, only with an always-on screen instead of physical hands. Tsai imagines that Google Assistant would be front and center, but also finds room for Wear OS staples like Google Maps, Google Fit and Uber.
“The Pixel Watch features a circular display with a soft-touch area creating a smooth tactile finish,” Tsai writes. “The matte glass screen can always match the wrist band's color when Always-On mode is on. The variety of matte and glossy materials adds a creamy and sleek feel to the smartwatch experience.”
Our only real complaint is the fact that the watch face is built into the strap itself, which means no customization options whatsoever. It would also mean Google couldn’t ‘do an Apple’ and sell straps directly to consumers.
It feels a sure thing that Google will make a Pixel Watch at some point, but the question is “when?”. The usually reliable Evan Blass seemed certain one would appear alongside the Pixel 3 in 2018, before Google’s Director of Engineering for Wear OS poured cold water on this in an exclusive interview with Tom's Guide. Last year was also mooted, but nothing was ultimately forthcoming.
Since then, of course, Google has bought Fitbit and it feels a certainty that the companies will combine their know-how into the ultimate Wear OS hardware eventually. With the well-received Galaxy Watch 3 having just launched and the highly anticipated Apple Watch 6 on the horizon, Google would be wise to have a new watch to complete with the latest offerings from Samsung and Apple. And on that note, it’s worth casting a glance at this report from ET News which states Google has placed a large order for body movement tracking sensors from Samsung.
Maybe these are bound for the Pixel Watch when it finally enters the production line? We can but hope, but it’s very unlikely to be this year. So for now, you’re best off enjoying the rest of James Tsai’s concept art and dreaming.
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Freelance contributor Alan has been writing about tech for over a decade, covering phones, drones and everything in between. Previously Deputy Editor of tech site Alphr, his words are found all over the web and in the occasional magazine too. When not weighing up the pros and cons of the latest smartwatch, you'll probably find him tackling his ever-growing games backlog. Or, more likely, playing Spelunky for the millionth time.