Google Pixel Watch 2, a look into the future: release date, feature wishlist
The Google Pixel Watch, which had been widely anticipated, was unveiled a few months ago. Tech enthusiasts all over the world were waiting for its official release with bated breath. In this article, we look forward to its successor, Pixel Watch 2, and the features and capabilities that we hope to see in it.
It’s fair to say, the original device received a lukewarm response. With its sleek design and robust functionality it was a worthy first effort. However, it leaves much to be desired.
The positives include a nice design, it is water resistant, there’s Fitbit integration, it runs wearOS 3.5, always-on AMOLED display, e-SIM support, Google Assistant, Google Pay and more. The negatives give us inspiration for the wishlist below.
Google Pixel Watch 2: Potential release date
Let’s start off first with the potential release date. The rumours about the first Pixel Watch date back four or five years. However nothing materialised until October 2022. A few times along the way, we totally gave up hope of ever seeing the device. But it’s finally here.
Just like Apple, Google has one smartwatch. In Apple’s case this has become a range, with a subsequent editions released without fail each year. And we feel the search giant will adopt the same release schedule. One new generation of the device per year. Which means we can expect the next Google Pixel Watch to land in October 2023.
Essential reading: Top fitness trackers and health gadgets
So far there have been no rumours or leaks about the upcoming device. It is still a bit too early for that. No doubt, they will come in the months ahead. And we will make sure to report on them.
In the meantime, let’s move on to our wishlist.
Google Pixel Watch 2: features and capabilities wishlist
A blood oxygen sensor that works
The blood oxygen sensor on the current iteration of the Pixel Watch is currently disabled and the company has not provided an explanation for why this is the case. Some speculate that Google is waiting for approval from the FDA for the feature. Which would be unusual as many other smartwatches with an SpO2 sensor have already been approved for sale in the US. Their manufacturers didn’t have a huge issue obtaining FDA approval.
Another possibility is that there are accuracy issues with the sensor and Google is still working to improve the algorithms that calculate readings. To us, that seems more likely. No doubt the feature will come in the months ahead.
As far as Google Pixel Watch, we hope blood oxygen readings will be available from day one. Particularly as SpO2 monitoring has become a standard feature in most fitness trackers and smartwatches.
Temperature sensor, EDA sensor
Fitbit was acquired by Google a few years ago, resulting in a close relationship between the two companies. This is evident in the Pixel watch, as Fitbit appears to have provided much of the fitness and health technology in the device. This includes heart rate, sleep, sports tracking and even ECG.
Given their close relationship, a temperature sensor and an EDA (electrodermal activity) sensor are likely to be the next additions to the Pixel watch’s health tracking capabilities. Both of these sensors are available on high-end Fitbit devices and can provide valuable health information.
The temperature sensor detects variations in skin temperature, which can indicate changes in body temperature caused by fever or other medical conditions. This is best measured at night. The EDA sensor, on the other hand, measures changes in sweat levels to more accurately estimate stress levels. The first Fitbit devices with EDA only measured this on demand. Sense 2 took this further and can measure this around the clock.
The Pixel watch would become an even more powerful tool for tracking and managing one’s health and fitness with these sensors. And who knows, in the next 9 months, blood pressure, hydration tracking or something else might become the norm. A few years down the line we’ll be able to track much more than we currently are able to.
Because of Google and Samsung’s collaboration, the Pixel Watch is powered by a Samsung Exynos 9110 SoC, with a low-power Cortex M33 co-processor tacked on for low-power watch face updates and 24/7 stat tracking. This 10 nm SoC contains two Cortex A53 cores and an Arm Mali T720 MP1 GPU.
In layman’s terms, this means it is using four-year-old technology. A Samsung chip that debuted in August of 2018. That chipset can also be found in the now-outdated Glaxy Watch Active 2.
That chip is several years behind the Qualcomm 4100, not to mention the revamped wearables platform known as the Snapdragon W5 Plus and W5, which was released in July 2022. As a result, it’s safe to say that a much more modern chipset is on the way.
Much longer battery life
A full battery for the Google Pixel Watch lasts up to 24 hours with normal use. And while this is enough to support sleep tracking and other features, it is quite disappointing. Dismal might be a better word.
And, yes, we are aware that this is a wear OS watch, but still. Only 24 hours?
Let’s aim for 2-3 days as a minimum on the Google Pixel Watch 2. Surely this not too much to ask for! With more power-efficient internals and a larger battery, it should be achievable.
Multiple size options
The original Pixel Watch is designed to be minimalistic, clean, and streamlined. It pulls this off really nicely.
This is a circular device, as opposed to the Apple Watch. One that is both lightweight and attractive. However, the timepiece is quite small.
There is only one size available. It has a 41mm diameter. The advantage of this is that it is a unisex device that those with small wrists can wear comfortably.
However, we would like to see a larger, more masculine-looking size in addition to the small. Many watchmakers have gone down the route of providing their customers with multiple size options. Apple has two sizes for each generation of its watch, and Garmin has three for some of their watches such as the Fenix range. On Google, we’d be content with two different size options.
Better strap release mechanism
The Google Pixel watch’s proprietary band mechanism is a little over-engineered. You eventually get the hang of it, but it takes some time. According to Google, it is intended to mimic the way a camera lens snaps into place. Which sounds nice on paper but in reality it’s a hassle.
To remove the strap, you need to push down on the release button. Rather unintuitively, it is located to the right of the stap. The next step is to press the strap down and slide to the right until it covers the button.
Putting a strap back on is even trickier to master. You first need to align the strap’s edge with the release button. Then, until you hear a click, press down and slide left.
Let’s hope Google comes up with an easier solution next time around. Those that like to regularly change up the look of their watch will appreciate it.
Unsurprisingly, Pixel watch works best with Pixel smartphones. Beyond that, it is compatible with any smartphone running Android 8.0 or later. So in time it should become a worthy alternative to the Samsung Galaxy Watch.
Which means you are good if you have an Android smartphone. However, those who own an iPhone are out of luck. Google Pixel Watch does not play nice with Apple’s ecosystem.
There are numerous reasons for this. Smartwatches are intended to be an extension of smartphones. As a result, the Apple Watch is the ideal companion for an iPhone. The same is true for Pixel phones and the Pixel Watch. The Google timepiece requires an Android on the other end in order to function properly.
Is it possible that this will change in the future? We can’t think of any reason why not.
In the past, Android watchmakers such as Samsung have provided some iPhone compatibility. This was accomplished using a third-party Galaxy Watch iOS app. Unfortunately, the support was pulled a few years ago. But this demonstrates that it is doable.
Does Pixel Watch really need to be this expensive?
The Google Pixel Watch is very pricey. The device costs $349 for the entry level GPS + Bluetooth-only configuration. The high-end LTE-compatible version will set you back an additional $50. This is in addition to the LTE wireless service plan.
We’re not really sure what justifies such a high price point. The fitness sensors inside the thing are pretty standard. More likely it is to do with the build and wearOS smarts.
As of late, Google and other retailers have started offering discounts on Pixel Watch. It is not typical for price cuts to be available so soon after the launch of a device.
Our hope is that Pixel Watch 2 will be priced more reasonably. Of course this will in the end depend on its specs. The other option is for Google to introduce a cheaper version. Something akin to the Apple Watch SE.
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