Google Will Not Announce a Pixel Watch

Posted on September 4, 2018 by Paul Thurrott in Android, Mobile with 15 Comments

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.


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Comments (15)

15 responses to “Google Will Not Announce a Pixel Watch”

  1. dcdevito

    It won't matter, Apple Watch is 4 years ahead of the pack in this category. It's like tablets all over again

  2. Stooks

    Pixel phone sales are honestly a joke in terms of numbers. A pixel watch would have done even worse.

    Apple is running away with this market. I am kind of shocked how many Apple watches I see out in the world. I work in retail IT and I can tell you the number of NFC payments coming from Apple pay is way, way ahead of anything else. The watch is used for this a lot.

    • Andi

      In reply to Stooks:

      Apple is running away with the iphone connected watch market. The Apple Watch does not exist in a vacuum. Apple uses exclusive pairing abilities to handicap all other watches.

    • bleeman

      In reply to Stooks:

      Interestingly enough here in the DFW area I have many establishments I've gone to (Restaurants, Fast Food, Retail, Auto, etc.) all say my phone won't work for payment. I then ask if I can try and they are amazed it works. They say they have had many iPhone users try and it doesn't work. The same with their own iPhones. The difference I have a Galaxy Note 8 and I'm using Samsung Pay. I have also discovered many stores have no idea they could even accept any phone style payment. I always enjoy proving them wrong :-)

  3. khanman

    -I bought a LG Watch Sport when it came out that has been sidelined for a year because it had poor battery life, counted way too many steps.

    -I bought a Samsung Gear S3 Frontier (non-LTE) which I like a lot but missed LTE that I had with the Watch LG Sport

    -I went to buy the new Samsung Galaxy Watch from T-Mo the day after it came out but discovered that I need a Galaxy phone to activate the watch for LTE - I returned it (I have a Pixel 2 XL)

    What I can't understand is why so many Wear OS watches are being announced now (IFA 2018) with the old Snapdragon 2100 - this is puzzling since Qualcomm is having an even this month.

    I was hopeful that we would see a Pixel Watch but now that's out, so I'm seriously considering the Apple Watch Series 4 paired with the iPhone XS large

  4. wolters

    I used a WearOS watch for about 3 years, starting with the LG Watch Urbane, Ticwatch and then the Huawei Watch 2 Classic. They all performed adequately if not quirky at times. And I defended WearOS over Tizen, mainly taking the "it has more apps" or it "inherently works better" than Tizen.

    I recently picked up a Galaxy Watch and I posted my thoughts here. I have to be completely honest and bold and say the Galaxy Watch is currently the best, all round smartwatch you can get for an Android Phone. I've tested it both on a Note 9 and Pixel 2 XL and it has been excellent. Step Counts, notifications, sleep tracker, responding to messaging apps. All have worked perfectly.

    When I used the "Tizen has no apps" argument, I usually would ignore the fact that those apps that WearOS had were either useless or didn't work correctly. For example, the Facebook Messenger app for WearOS. It does NOTHING. You already get notification and can respond to them. The NEST WearOS app just toggled if you were home or not. Neato Robotics app just let you start or stop your vac. Google Maps is good in theory on the watch but I never used it.

    With no Pixel Watch or even a new Huawei Watch coming this year, I can't see anything knocking the Galaxy Watch from being the current best Smartwatch for Android.

    If you need well balanced Health Tracking and Notifications, I have to give the nod to the Galaxy Watch.

    • khanman

      In reply to wolters:
      I can live with the app gap, I can live with the Galaxy Watch losing MST, I am bummed that I need a Galaxy phone for LTE

      Regarding the Nest app, for person/motion notifications, my wife gets a picture on her Apple Watch Series 3 LTE, I get the notification on my Galaxy Watch S3 Frontier but no image

      The only watch that would beat the Galaxy Watch is the Apple Watch - but that of course has its own restrictions and limitations. We'll say what Series 4 looks like on the 12th.

      • wolters

        In reply to khanman:

        I'm still shaking my head over the fact that a Samsung Phone is needed for LTE. Especially on a watch that is made to work on all Android phones and iPhones.

        And yes, the third party apps are investing their time into the Apple Watch. Can't deny that. And I don't see them ever jumping on Tizen, even if the watches are selling well.

        Side note - I was at an amusement park this past weekend and it seemed to be 50/50 on seeing Apple Watches and a Samsung watch.

  5. wright_is

    The fact that Qualcomm failed to deliver the promised next generation smartwatch processors on time probably didn't help either. They were supposed to have provided them to partners, so that they could showcase devices at IFA last week, but according to and El Reg, the chips still haven't shipped and they are expecting to send out manufacturing samples around the 12th. Given the old chips were underpowered in 2014/2015 and haven't been updated since, that is a long wait.

  6. jdmp10

    I'm waiting to see what Qualcomm will be announcing at their even next week. Hard to believe we won't see some signature devices using the newly announced chip shipping within this year. If none of them are attractive, the Skagen that was announced at IFA looks really nice and has the round face I want. Also in the hands-on videos it seems to run the latest Wear OS update pretty smoothly, also has Google Pay which is a must for me in my next Android watch.

  7. Chris_Kez

    I have to agree with Paul that Google simply recognizes they are unable to create a compelling watch themselves at this point, so they're allowing their partners to fail fast instead. Seriously, Google doesn't think there's a "one size fits all" watch?? Sure, but Apple has managed to sell tens of millions of Apple Watches with a single design in two sizes.

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