Google is preparing a vast range of new hardware for an early October launch event. But a Pixel watch is not among that hardware.
“To think of a one-size-fits-all watch, I don’t think we’re there yet,” Google Wear OS director of engineering Miles Barr told Tom’s Guide last week during IFA. “Our focus is on our partners for now.” Additionally, both Barr and a Google PR representative told the publication separately that Google “would not be releasing a watch of its own this year.”
That may be for the best. Google smartwatch platform, which has transformed from Android Wear into Wear OS by Google Smartwatches has been an outright disaster. And this comes despite Google dominating the smartphone and tablet markets.
Plus, Google doesn’t exactly have a positive reputation when it comes to hardware quality and reliability. Last year’s Pixel 2 XL launch was marred by a series of endemic issues, and its hardware sells at such a low volume that the firm, like Microsoft, is really just a boutique operation and no real competition for the bigger hardware makers that it also partners with.
But relying on its partners may not be the best approach either. Last year, you may recall that Google heavily promoted the LG Watch Style, which it helped that company design. That makes it more of a Nexus-style watch than a Pixel-style watch, I guess. But no matter. The LG Watch Style suffered from a number of issues, including the fact that neither LG nor Google sold longer straps, making it a non-starter, for me at least.
This year, Google is again promoting a new version of Android Wear—er, ah Wear OS—and the firm is, again, promoting a new set of software updates that should put this platform over the top. Frankly, I think the real reason that Google isn’t making its own watch is that it would fail hard. And the last thing the company needs now is another hardware embarrassment.