People have been waiting for this watch probably more than any other smartwatch – and it is technically not even a “thing” yet! It is the Google Pixel Watch (or whatever Google decides to call it). Without even being out yet, it has the ability to be one of the best, most integrated smartwatches yet. Why is that and why could 2020 be the year this fabled watch arrives?
2020 the Year of the Google Pixel Watch?
Late in 2019, Google made a pretty big move and bought FitBit, the initial mainstream fitness watch. They paid $2.1 billion for that company – and not likely for the fitness trackers themselves. While Google has made some impressive moves with their Wear OS system for smartwatches, they obviously are still looking for a little more in the actual hardware department.
The wearable market is really on an upward trend with Apple leading the field and other players like Samsung and even Garmin in the mix as well. While Google supplies the software for many manufacturers and their smartwatches, they do not yet have their own hardware out.
I am sure that some of their interest in FitBit had to do with battery integration and tech in a watch as well. Watches that use Google’s Wear OS tend to look beautiful on the display but they tend to have poor battery life. Google needs to have their watch last at least for a day and preferably for a couple of days to beat the competitors already in the arena.
Another thing – Google is rumored to get into the financial areas this year. This would be another great use on a Google Pixel watch and something that would help it to be more concentrated as a do-it-all wearable.
Finally, Google is going to be releasing their new Pixel Buds in April. While I (and pretty much no one else) was not a fan of the original Pixel Buds, the sequel promises to be really, really good. They could be a great compliment to a Pixel watch. I would imagine that releasing such a watch in April/May would be a great move as well to take advantage of the summer period for fitness and travel, etc.
Why the Google Pixel Watch Could Be Great
When it comes to hardware, Google actually does a pretty good job. Look at the Google Pixel phones. While they are really in the no-frills department as far as bling and that goes, they are solid smartphones with a really good mashup of hardware and software. Google’s tablets never really took off like they wanted but, again, the hardware of their Google Pixel Slate as well as laptops like the Pixelbook have been great efforts.
But, of course, Google is more widely known for software and that would be the part that could make this be the smartest watch yet.
The Google Assistant is getting smarter and smarter all the time. The Google Pixel watch could really plug into that as it learns everything about your normal routine. Imagine having a tight integration with something like TripIt where the Pixel watch knows your stride length and it gives you the timeframe you need for reaching your next gate at an airport.
Imagine having a restaurant recommendation based on your past dining experiences, time of day, amount of calories burned that day, etc. This could just be the beginning of having one of the best virtual assistants on your wrist all the time!
Google Fit / Google Coach
Google Fit has been made smarter to more accurately track your fitness efforts to let you know that you are a on a healthy lifestyle track. However, there were rumors that Google Coach would be coming and would replace Google Fit. This could be an incredible advance for everyone that wants to not just train more but train better.
The interesting part is that the rumors of Google Coach came out around the time that the Google Pixel watch was rumored to come – and neither is here yet. It could be that Google is going to launch Google Coach with their Pixel smartwatch as one more way to give it an edge. It could use all the sensors that the future Pixel watch would have built-in for a well-rounded experience.
Google Coach will be able to use the things that it learns from your lifestyle, diet, and even your surroundings to help encourage you in various workouts and to help you if you miss certain workouts.
When you combine the power of Google’s AI technology with a coaching module that lives on your wrist, we could have a virtual coach that adapts your training based on a variety of variables – things like weather, location, food, sleep cycle, heart rate (which can also indicate if something is wrong with your body), workout goals, etc – to give you the best workout each and every day to accomplish your long term goal.
Imagine having your watch tell you what time your workout should be and signaling you ahead of time with the type of food you should eat and when to prep for it. Then, it could tell you the best route, for example, to run to accomplish a workout. For example, if you have a tempo workout, Google Coach could select a running area to give you a route that is not too elevated or full of traffic so you can have a smooth run without stopping. Or, if you need hills, it could recommend the closest, runnable area of hill repeats.
This could work with other fitness disciplines as well. Just plugin your favorite kind of workout and think of the variables that could give you a productive workout plan.
Like the Apple Watch models that utilize the eSIM to connect to your phone plan, Google Pixel 2, 3, and 4 phones use eSIMs to work with Google Fi (read a complete FAQ guide on Google Fi here).
This means it would be very simple for a Google Pixel Watch to utilize eSIM technology for users that want to use it with their Google Fi account. This would be a huge benefit to those of us that like to use Google Fi for international travel. The Apple Watch Series 3, 4, and 5 do not work on cellular when outside the home network so this would be a good way for Google to get ahead of Apple in that area.
Plus, imagine how great it would be to have a high-end, first party smartwatch that can stay connected anywhere in the world without using a cellphone. This would be one more way to make Google Assistant a great asset no matter where you are.
CES 2020 (the Consumer Electronics Show) is coming next week in Las Vegas and that is always a great place for tech reveals. There won’t be a Pixel smartwatch reveal there but there may be other Wear OS watches that could give us an idea of what Google may be looking at for their own release.
I am firmly back in the Garmin camp now with my Garmin Fenix 6 Pro but would definitely love to have a Google Pixel watch! It could be the smartest watch yet – as long as Google can nail some things like design, battery life, and sensor performance. Hopefully, the FitBit acquisition will help with some of that (but I do hope they don’t adopt some of the FitBit designs!).