The Pixel watch really does happen, and Fitbit loyalists might really love it

Google announced The long-awaited Pixel watch on Wednesday, boosting the tech giant’s hardware expansion. The company has teased its first smartwatch during Google I / O Conference, but plans to reveal more details as the launch of the device in the fall approaches.

The watch has a circular dome design, runs on Google Wear OS smartwatch software and includes some Fitbit Health tracking features. Google hasn’t announced a price but said it will be sold as a premium product.

The Pixel Watch marks Google’s first major step into the smartwatch market, which has seen shipments grow 24% in 2021, according to Counterpoint Research. Google is a newcomer to this market. Rivals like apple And Samsung She has been leading the market and selling smartwatches for years. The company sees its new smartwatch as essential to building its Pixel brand into an entire ecosystem of products similar to those offered by Apple and Samsung, which includes phones, tablets, wireless earbuds and smartwatches.


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What to expect from the Pixel Watch, the new Fitbit watch from Google …


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“You have Pixel phoneYou have pixel buds“You have YouTube Music,” said Ramon Lamas, director of research at International Data Corporation, a market research firm. And now all of a sudden, you’re seeing this more than we’ve seen in previous years, a much more obvious competitor to Apple.”

The announcement comes after more than a year Google’s acquisition of Fitbit It closed in January 2021. While the Fitbit team is leading 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.

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Instead, the Pixel Watch and Fitbit lineup will complement each other, says James Park, founder of Fitbit who now leads Google’s wearable division. Those interested in getting more traditional smartwatch features like LTE support as well as health tracking will likely choose the Pixel Watch, while the Fitbit Charge would be ideal for consumers who care more about fitness and battery life.

Park said exclusive interview With CNET’s Scott Stein ahead of the Google I/O conference. “People can pick and choose what’s best for them.”

Familiar Fitbit features like Active Zone Minutes, which measures the amount of time spent in certain heart rate ranges during exercise, will be available on the Pixel Watch. Like many smartwatches today, the Pixel Watch will also track sleep and heart rate.

The company expects to add more Fitbit functionality in the future. “Over time, the Pixel Watch will contain the most advanced health sensors,” Park said. “And we’ll be selective about how all of these features appear across the entire suite.”

Unlike the Pixel Watch, which runs on Android only, Fitbit products are compatible with iPhones as well. Park said the company has no plans to stop supporting iOS users on Fitbit products. “It’s really important to the Fitbit lineup,” he said.

Someone on a bike checking their watch

Google Pixel watch on a person’s wrist

The Google

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

For Google, the launch of a new hardware product like the Pixel Watch doesn’t necessarily mean selling the most units, according to Tuong Nguyen, senior principal analyst at market research firm Gartner. It’s about keeping people using Google’s apps and services, and giving them a more prominent role in our lives. It’s a strategy This works well for Apple.

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

The company did not announce pricing, availability, feature details, battery life, or any other hardware details such as clock processor, health sensors, or display type. These questions will likely be answered in the fall as the watch’s release approaches.

Google already has some influence on the smartwatch market thanks to its ownership of Fitbit and its powerful Wear OS software platform Watches from Fossil and Samsung, among other things. Google will be a partner and competitor to these smartwatch makers once the Pixel Watch debuts. By releasing its first smartwatch, Google will also have a chance to showcase what the perfect Android watch experience should be, just as Pixel phones do with Android smartphones.

The company is best known for its search engine and ubiquitous digital services, but it has made a bigger push in hardware in recent years. The Pixel Watch will join Google’s existing range of phones, smart home gadgets like thermostats and connected speakers, Pixelbook Go Laptop Chromecast devices. It’s also just one of many new hardware products in Google’s pipeline. The company announced on Wednesday Pixel 6A phone And Pixel Buds ProBoth will be launched in July. He also reviewed a file Pixel 7which will arrive in the fall, and The new Pixel tablet Coming in 2023.

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