Earlier this year, it was rumored that Google was planning on releasing up to three variants of an upcoming Pixel watch. Details at the time even included three separate codenames and chipset specifications. According to an exclusive report published earlier today by Tom's Guide, that may not be the case anymore.
Tom's Guide's Caitlin McGarry was twice able to confirm Google's change of plans, once in an interview, and again in a follow-up phone call. The interview was conducted with Google's director of engineering for Wear OS, Miles Barr, who explicitly revealed that Google has no plans to release a smartwatch this year. The company has decided instead to "focus on improving Wear OS" while working together with other hardware manufacturers. Barr was quoted as saying, "Our focus is on our partners for now."
According to Tom's Guide's interview, Google would prefer to work with other companies as they improve designs and hardware, suggesting new features and guiding OEM progress rather than outright developing its own products. Google is apparently uninterested in developing a Pixel watch until it can be "all things to all people," and right now smartwatches and wearables are too varied in who they target and how they work, though Barr did reveal some details to Tom's Guide about what a hypothetical Pixel watch would need to have. As expected, it's all about the Assistant:
Our Google Pixel line of phones is the best experience and Google’s take on it, so I imagine we would focus heavily on the [Google] Assistant to integrate AI and machine learning into the device, which is Google’s forte.
The Google Assistant will also play a major role in the upcoming Wear OS update, set to roll out in the next month.
In the interview, Barr also revealed a desire to "move away from version numbers" when it comes to Wear OS, apparently considering the labels a trap which forces the company into a yearly release schedule. Instead, Google would prefer to "keep rolling out improvements on a regular basis so users aren’t pent up waiting."
We've reached out to Google for a statement, but at the time of writing have yet to receive a reply, though Tom's Guide has sought and received additional confirmation. So if you were looking forward to grabbing a Pixel watch this fall, you're out of luck.
- Tom's Guide