It’s no secret that Google’s Wear OS (formerly called Android Wear) never really took off. But Google’s not done trying – I guess, never say never is the moral of the story here. Rumor has it that Google is secretly working on a Pixel watch – and Google itself hasn’t denied its existence. So, when Google CEO Sundar Pichai kicked off I/O this year, visibly flaunting a seemingly new smartwatch, it (obviously) sparked a rush of adrenaline among eager fans and enthusiasts who had patiently been waiting for the Pixel watch.
YouTuber Marques Brownlee, more popularly known as MKBHD, was possibly one of the first few to spot the smartwatch – although, it never looked like Pichai was doing anything to hide it – and be curious about it. And, tweet about it. In his tweet, MKBHD asked Twitterati to ID Pichai's ‘mysterious’ smartwatch. Someone did ID Pichai's ‘mysterious’ smartwatch, successfully. Turns out, Pichai’s smartwatch had a Fossil connection – something that was verified by Fossil as well.
More precisely, Pichai was wearing a Fossil Sport with a Black Silicone band. If you’re wondering how much Pichai’s latest gadget costs, well, it costs $199 – which is in line with most Wear OS smartwatches in the market. It’s not very flashy, but considering Google CEO Pichai is using it, it could well be serving a purpose.
One of them also has to do with marketing. Google recently bought Fossil’s smartwatch tech and a portion of its R&D team for $40 million in its fresh attempt to make Wear OS relevant again.
Fossil is known for its hybrid smartwatches that blend smart features with more traditional watch design. But more importantly for Google, it is said to be the keeper of a “new product innovation that’s not yet hit the market,” possibly acquired from Misfit. Google maybe looking to scale it for its own good and for the greater good of Android-powered wearable devices in the future.
Fossil has been a long-term partner on Wear OS since the time it was called Android Wear, but its slow adoption of new-age smart tech like GPS and heart-rate monitoring meant, Fossil smartwatches appealed largely to die-hard fans. While the rest of the lot – the bigger lot – moved to better and smarter solutions like the Apple Watch.
Google was rumoured to launch a Pixel watch alongside the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL last year. But it did not.
"To think of a one-size-fits-all watch, I don't think we're there yet. Our focus is on our partners for now," Google's director of engineering for Wear OS, Miles Barr, had said in an interview not long ago. "Our Google Pixel line of phones is the best experience and Google's take on it, so I imagine we would focus heavily on the (Google) Assistant to integrate AI and machine learning into the device, which is Google's forte.”
A Pixel watch did not happen last year, but it is most certainly not dead. The Fossil acquisition breathes a fresh life into Google’s Wear OS platform, and hopefully, the company will have something to say about it soon enough.