The Pixel Watch could be coming soon and I'm excited. Wear OS and I go way back, back to the inception of Android Wear. I had a Galaxy Gear, then a Moto 360, then LG Watch Urbane. I've been around the block as Google fumbled with its smartwatch OS, though I stepped away to Samsung with the Gear S3 and Galaxy Watch Active.
My latest watch is the Fossil Gen 5 Carlyle. I realize that I might be in the minority here, but I actually like Wear OS. I appreciate how it handles notifications, I like the Tiles, easy access to Google Assistant, and the simplicity of installing apps. I certainly prefer it to Samsung's Tizen.
For the longest time, it seemed like Google just didn't care about Wear OS. Apple continued to see great success with the Apple Watch lineup, with watchOS leaping far ahead of Google's offering. I haven't used an Apple Watch before, so I can't speak to that experience.
With the rebirth of Wear OS on the Galaxy Watch 4, rumors started swirling about Google's own Pixel Watch. It would make sense for one to exist if Google is actually serious about smartwatches.
So as a fan of Wear OS, I have 3 things I want to see from the Pixel Watch.
Google Pixel Watch: Battery life
As someone intimately familiar with Google's phones, I don't have high hopes for this one. Pixels are not known for their longevity on a charge, failing to find places on our best phone battery life list. Every Android Wear/Wear OS watch I've ever used has had abysmal battery life, even something as recent as the Fossil Gen 5.
Samsung and Apple are far and away better with battery life on their watches, so I really want to see the Pixel Watch go for longer between recharges. Whether it's software or hardware optimization, this is key to the watch succeeding, both critically and in my eyes.
More power please
One nagging thing about many of my smartwatches is that most of them have been criminally underpowered. Whether they take forever to boot, open a menu, or display a notification, it's been a frustrating experience for the most part. So for the Pixel Watch, I don't want Google to hold back.
In fact, I want the Pixel Watch to go all out and offer the best specs that Google can fit in a smartwatch. I don't want my watch to hang while I'm paying with G Pay or suffer a delay when a notification comes in. A new chipset is certainly key to this.
Wear OS needs top performers to keep up with the Apple Watch.
Better health features
Health features on Wear OS are pretty lacking, outside of the Galaxy Watch 4. I want to see the Pixel Watch throw all of the health features it can at the wall. Some things won't stick, but the kitchen sink approach seems like it'd be a good idea. Smartwatches do benefit from a spartan feature set to keep costs down, but the Pixel Watch won't turn heads with the smattering of health features Wear OS watches have had historically.
Google could offer more health options, like an ECG or perhaps the blood glucose monitor that rumors say Samsung is working on. There's a lot of room for growth here.
The most promising development is Google's acquisition of Fitibt, so I would anticipate all of Fitbit's features to come along for the ride on the Pixel Watch. For example, the Fitbit Sense tracks health metrics, sleep and activity and can even help manage stress. We especially like the new Daily Readiness Score. And I'd expect easy access to Fitbit Premium for fitness classes and workouts.
Google Pixel Watch outlook
Wear OS has already gotten a much-needed breath of fresh air thanks to Google's and Samsung's efforts. I don't think my hopes are too far out there, since they'd be quite in line with what many others expect out of Google's possible in-house wearable.
I'll continue to use my Fossil Gen 5 with my Android phones — despite Fossil confirming that anything older than the new Gen 6 watches won't see the new Wear OS — and hope that the Pixel Watch comes to fruition.
I already like Wear OS and I look forward to getting my hands on the new version eventually. Google has simply been on maintenance mode for too long and we're overdue for smartwatch hardware worthy of the Pixel name.