Google Teases Upcoming Pixel Watch at I/O

Victoria Song, reporting for The Verge:

Given that the Pixel Watch is the worst-kept wearable secret of 2022, there wasn’t anything too surprising in terms of design. As suspected, the Pixel Watch has a circular, domed design and features a “tactile” crown and side button. It’s made of recycled stainless steel and has swappable proprietary bands.

No pricing announced other than that it will be a “premium-priced product”, or word about multiple sizes (a big deal, still, for people with smaller wrists). It looks, to some degree (I’d say a large degree), like the design spec was “an Apple Watch but circular”. The dome-shaped edge-to-edge crystal looks nice. I’m curious if it’s sapphire or glass.

The rubber strap they’re showing in photos looks a lot like Apple’s default sport strap, too, with the Marc Newson/Ikepod-style tuck-the-extra-part-under design that Apple Watch has made iconic. But, oddly, Google’s straps have two slots. The slot after the sizing pin is where you tuck the excess strap. I don’t know what purpose the slot before the pin serves.

According to Rick Osterloh, Google’s senior vice president of devices and services, this Fitbit integration will go beyond customizing watch faces and be “imbued throughout” the Pixel Watch experience. Users will be able to sync their data with a Fitbit account, meaning they’ll be able to view it within the Fitbit app and on the web. The watch will use all of Fitbit’s latest algorithms for health and fitness.

As for data privacy, Osterloh said in a briefing that Fitbit and Google data will stay private and separate due to promises it made to regulators during the Fitbit acquisition, meaning that any health data collected on the Pixel Watch will remain under Fitbit’s purview, separate from Google.

Promises made, promises kept, I suppose, but requiring entirely separate accounts for fitness (Fitbit) and everything else (Google) seems like an annoyance, not a feature.

Thursday, 12 May 2022