A new report has now almost dashed all hopes about a Pixel Watch. Although the rumor mills have been quiet about the wearable, a couple of patents had kept the expectations alive.
However, Google supposedly scrapped plans to release a smartwatch back in 2016. What’s even more surprising is that this was a last-minute decision, taken after the hardware was actually ready. The predominant reason it got canned was that it didn’t conform to the central design theme.
Instead Of Diving Headfirst Into The Pixel Watch, Google Created An OS First
The story goes that the Mountain View company first started thinking about creating a smartwatch back in 2013. However, instead of making a watch, the company first decided to develop an operating system.
Andy Rubin, who created Android, was also all for a Google smartwatch. However, things went south from then on. First off, in March 2013, Rubin parted ways with the Android division before leaving Google altogether. Perhaps, having him at the helm would have made Wear OS as popular as the company’s mobile OS.
Anyhow, the company decided to concentrate all its efforts on developing software, hoping that it will do as good as Android. A year later, in 2014, Android Wear was launched.
The platform’s first year was actually its best, with 27 percent of the market. However, from then on, it plummeted in popularity. It didn’t help that Samsung decided to make its own Tizen OS for its smartwatches instead of going for Google’s.
Currently, Tizen is more popular than Wear OS. Needless to say, Google’s smartwatch platform didn’t really take off.
Whether it was popular or not, Google now had an OS for watches. By 2015, the company was seriously thinking about stepping up its hardware game. It also wanted to make a premium Android smartphone that will compete with the iPhone.
What Was To Be The First Google Watch Was Actually Released As An LG Branded One
By 2016, the company apparently had a large range of hardware under its belt, but the new head of hardware, Rick Osterloh, was tasked with narrowing down the portfolio. The idea was to present a streamlined set of hardware.
Pixel Watch didn’t make the cut. The products that made it to the first Made by Google event included the Pixel smartphone, the Daydream View VR headset, the Google Home smart speaker, Google WiFi, and Chromecast Ultra.
Google reportedly wanted its first wearable to show what was possible with the Android Wear, but that didn’t pan out well. LG made the watch and per Osterloh, it’s aesthetics didn’t go well with the rest of the products in the ecosystem.
Moreover, the watch also apparently didn’t synch well with the Pixel phone. The company feared that the watch would sink the Google brand.
However, since the watches were almost done when Google decided to abandon them, they were rebranded. In 2017, they were released as LG Watch Style and LG Watch Sport.
So, has Google given up on its smartwatch ambitions for good? That doesn’t really seem to be the case, as the company did acquire a hybrid watch technology as well as talent from Fossil at the beginning of the year after all.
One of the main issues is that Qualcomm’s smartwatch microprocessor leaves a lot to be desired, and there is no indication that Google will be developing its own silicon in the near future. Thus, it’s really hard to say if Pixel branded wearable will be released anytime soon.