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Google’s Pixel Watch is coming this fall with some familiar Fitbit features

Google announced it long-awaited Pixel Watch on Wednesday to fuel the tech giant’s expansion into hardware. The company teased its first smartwatch during its Google I/O conference, but plans to unveil more details closer to the device’s launch later this fall.

The watch has a domed circular design, runs on Google’s Wear OS smartwatch software, and includes a few Fitbit health tracking capabilities. Google hasn’t revealed a price but has said it will be sold as a premium product.

The Pixel Watch marks Google’s first major move into the smartwatch market, which Counterpoint Research said shipped 24% in 2021. Google is a newcomer to this market. like rivals Apple and Samsung Market leader and have been selling smartwatches for years. The company sees its new smartwatch as crucial to building its Pixel brand into a full ecosystem of products similar to Apple and Samsung, spanning smartphones, tablets, wireless earbuds and smartwatches.


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What to expect from Pixel Watch, Google’s new Fitbit


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“You have your pixel phoneyou have your pixel budsThey have YouTube Music,” said Ramon Llamas, research director at International Data Corporation, a market research firm. “And now you suddenly see that more than in previous years, a much clearer direct competitor to Apple.”

The announcement comes more than a year later Google’s acquisition of Fitbit closed in January 2021. While the Fitbit team is pushing ahead with development of the Pixel Watch, Google has no plans to merge the two product lines, according to Rick Osterloh, Google’s senior vice president of Devices and Services.

The Pixel Watch and Fitbit range of devices will complement each other instead, says James Park, founder of Fitbit, who now heads Google’s wearables division. Those interested in more traditional smartwatch features like LTE support alongside health tracking would likely opt for the Pixel Watch, while the Fitbit Charge would be ideal for consumers more interested in fitness and battery life.

“The great thing about the Pixel and Fitbit combo is that we can offer these different devices together,” Park said in an exclusive interview with CNET’s Scott Stein ahead of Google I/O. “People can choose what is best for them.”

Familiar Fitbit features like Active Zone Minutes, which measures time spent in specific heart rate zones during exercise, will be available on the Pixel Watch. Like many of today’s smartwatches, the Pixel Watch also tracks sleep and heart rate.

The company expects to add more Fitbit features in the future. “Over time, the Pixel Watch will have the most advanced health sensors,” Park said. “And we’re going to be selective about how all of these features roll out across the portfolio.”

Unlike the Pixel Watch, which will only be available for Android, Fitbit’s products are also compatible with iPhones. Park said the company has no plans to end support for iOS users on Fitbit products. “It’s really important to the Fitbit lineup,” he said.

Someone on a bike looking at their watch

The Google Pixel Watch on a person’s wrist

Google

Popular Google apps like Maps, Wallet, and Google Assistant will be part of the Pixel Watch, along with updated software that the company says should feel “smooth” and “easy to navigate.” The watch also has adjustable bands and a tactile crown similar to the one on the Apple Watch.

For Google, launching a new hardware product like the Pixel Watch isn’t necessarily about selling the most units, according to Tuong Nguyen, a senior principal analyst at market research firm Gartner. It’s about people using Google’s apps and services and giving them a more important role in our lives. It’s a strategy that has worked well for Apple.

“The hardware is like a delivery mechanism,” Nguyen said. “And we should, at least maybe in the short to medium term, focus more on what it can do.”

The company hasn’t revealed pricing, availability, feature details, battery life, or other hardware specifications like the watch’s processor, health sensors, or display type. These questions will likely be answered in the fall closer to the watch’s release.

Google already has some clout in the smartwatch market thanks to its stake in Fitbit and its Wear OS software platform, which powers watches from the likes of Fossil and Samsung. Google will be both a partner and competitor of these smartwatch makers once the Pixel Watch debuts. By launching its first smartwatch, Google also has an opportunity to show what the ideal Android watch experience should look like, just like its Pixel phones do for Android smartphones.

The company is best known for its ubiquitous search engine and digital services, but has made a bigger push towards hardware in recent years. The Pixel Watch will complement Google’s current lineup of phones, smart home devices like thermostats and connected speakers Pixelbook Go laptop and Chromecast streaming devices. It’s also just one of several new hardware products in Google’s pipeline. The company announced this on Wednesday Pixel 6A and Pixel Buds Pro, both of which will be launched in July. It also has a preview of the Pixel7which will arrive in the fall, and a new pixel tablet 2023 coming.

https://www.cnet.com/tech/mobile/google-pixel-watch-is-coming-this-fall-with-some-familiar-fitbit-features/ Google’s Pixel Watch is coming this fall with some familiar Fitbit features

Chris Barrese

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