After a number of years languishing behind Apple and the Apple Watch, Google’s Wear OS had a mini resurgence of sorts earlier this year following its collaboration with Samsung to revamp and redesign its wearable operating system. It also saw the launch of the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 and Watch 4 Classic, complete with the new Wear OS 3. We were quite fond of it, giving it a good review too, but it looks like Google has more plans in store for their wearable division, including their own ‘made by Google’ smartwatch.
According to a new report by Business Insider, Google are currently working on their own smartwatch, currently codenamed ‘Rohan’. It will pack the latest and greatest of Wear OS, while physically it will be round with no bezel whatsoever. Rohan will also come with a bunch of health and fitness sensors and trackers, as is norm with the best smartwatches around. This includes at least a heart rate monitor and step counting among others. However, the report also states potentially underwhelming battery life, with daily charging needed.
As for when it’ll launch, it’s understood that Google executives are planning to launch Rohan sometime next year. Google are probably quite far down development already, with prototype watches allegedly already being used and tested by Google employees beyond just the smartwatch team. While it’s already being called the Pixel Watch by Google internally, there’s so far no confirmation that that’s the name they are going for, so we could still be seeing different branding when it eventually launches in 2022. Pricing meanwhile is expected to be pretty steep, competing directly against the likes of the Apple Watch.
If we do see a new Pixel Watch, it marks a huge turnaround for Google in the wearable space. They started off the year with a bang of course, completing the acquisition of Fitbit for USD2.1 billion in early 2021. Google then announced a partnership with Samsung to build Wear OS 3, which debuted with the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 series. Fitbit themselves meanwhile are apparently working on incorporating their new owner’s Wear OS onto their wearables sometime in the future.
Wear OS shipments rose this year too thanks to the Samsung watches, climbing up to 17.3% compared to Apple’s 21.8% in Counterpoint Research’s latest smartwatch shipments report. The Pixel Watch could just be the defining product to mark Google’s return to form in the smartwatch and wearable space, and increased competition with the Apple Watch would be great to see too.