With its smooth design and suite of Fitbit well being monitoring instruments, the Pixel Watch has the potential to grow to be the greatest Android smartwatch. But at its core, the Pixel Watch nonetheless largely looks like a solution to the Apple Watch and different in style smartwatches.
It meets, and in some methods surpasses, expectations for a smartwatch of its worth. Yet, it does not essentially do a lot to push the smartwatch business ahead, nor does it overwhelmingly persuade you to facet with the Pixel over a less expensive Samsung or Fitbit watch.
The Pixel Watch is basically Fitbit software program wrapped in a extra engaging, Google-designed package deal. But with the Pixel Watch 2, which debuts on Oct. 4, I wish to see Google’s smartwatch assume its personal id. That’s important for Google now that ancillary devices like watches and earbuds are a greater a part of Android’s future path.
Google ought to imitate its Pixel telephone technique
There are loads of issues the Pixel Watch will get proper, from its elegant curved edges to its easy-to-use software program and complete train monitoring. But for the wearable to actually stand out, Google ought to take a web page from its Pixel telephone playbook.
As I’ve written prior to now, I’d wish to see Google develop intelligent options for the Pixel Watch that clear up actual inconveniences. Pixel telephones, for instance, have telephone calling instruments for letting Google’s digital assistant wait on maintain for you. They even have fascinating photograph modifying options, like the power to sharpen outdated images that could be out of focus. Google is clearly concentrating on two of essentially the most fundamental duties individuals use their telephones for: making calls and taking images. It’s these options mixed with the Pixel’s nice digital camera that make it stand out.
But Google has already launched seven generations of its Pixel telephones, which means it is had time to refine its strategy and work out what works. The authentic Pixel from 2016 was a skeleton of in the present day’s gadgets; it had the bones of in the present day’s Pixels, like a pointy design that rivaled that of the iPhone, a standout digital camera and the Google Assistant. But it took years for Google to flesh out its Pixel telephone technique. The case will possible be the identical for the Pixel Watch.
It’s laborious to say precisely what that may seem like. Fitness and well being appear to be the most important areas during which in the present day’s smartwatches are rising and bettering throughout the business. Google’s progress in these fields will largely come right down to Fitbit, which pioneered the digital well being motion however now faces elevated competitors from Apple. That rivalry is prone to escalate within the coming years contemplating Apple is reportedly engaged on new well being options, together with an AI-powered wellness coach, temper monitoring instruments and blood strain monitoring.
Health monitoring apart, I’d wish to see extra options that make the Pixel Watch a extra essential a part of the Android ecosystem. Given Google’s progress with the Google Assistant, I had hoped Google’s digital helper would play a much bigger function within the Pixel Watch. Yes, you are able to do all the fundamental belongings you’d count on, like make calls, begin timers, play music and management good residence gadgets together with your voice.
But I’d wish to see new options that really feel extra particular to the Pixel Watch. Since smartwatches aren’t very best for lengthy touchscreen interactions, there is a huge alternative for Google to make use of the Google Assistant to floor contextual info in new methods. Hopefully we’ll see extra of that sooner or later as Google deepens its synthetic intelligence push.
The Pixel Watch’s rising pains
While Google figures out the Pixel Watch‘s long-term path, there are a number of near-term fixes it might make to push the Pixel Watch ahead.
Longer battery life is on the prime of my listing. To be truthful, Google is not alone on this regard; Apple’s and Samsung’s respective flagship smartwatches usually final just one to 2 days on a single cost. This could also be passable in the event you plan on charging your watch in a single day, but it surely makes it tough to recurrently monitor sleep.
Though I’ve praised the Pixel Watch’s smooth, pebble-like design, its black bezel remains to be too noticeable on sure backgrounds — significantly colourful ones just like the Photos watch face. This can distract from the Pixel Watch’s in any other case stellar design.
For its worth, the Pixel Watch also needs to provide all the identical well being options because the Fitbit Sense 2. Compared with the Sense 2, the Pixel Watch lacks alerts for an irregular coronary heart price, notifications for prime and low coronary heart price, and temperature-sensing. The Pixel Watch can also’t robotically detect and begin a exercise in your wrist.
I perceive that Google must make some compromises to tell apart the Sense 2 from the Pixel Watch. But Google already does that properly sufficient with the Pixel Watch’s extra premium design and extra smartphone companion options, reminiscent of its Google Play Store assist.
When it involves the buyer electronics market, Google is in a singular place. It has to steadiness differentiating its personal Pixel merchandise with bettering your entire Android ecosystem — together with Android devices made by corporations it competes with, like Samsung. Google is preventing two battles: Android versus iPhone, and Pixel versus everybody else. And typically that exhibits in its merchandise.