Here comes a word from Google to put all those Pixel watch rumors to rest. Despite all the rumors and leaks so far there won’t be any Pixel watch this year from the company. This has been revealed by none other than the Director of Engineering for Wear OS division at Google, so there are no doubts about it at this point. However, there’re a number of other interesting things too that were revealed about upcoming smartwatches by this director, so don’t leave the page too quickly!
When Miles Barr, the leader of Wear OS engineering team at Google, sat down with Toms Guide for an interview, the most shocking piece of information he dropped was that no Google Pixel Watch will be launched this year. Instead, the company will focus its energies on improving Wear OS platform and will rely on its partners for the development of hardware. He said that his team provides inputs to hardware makers regarding what features customers want and what they don’t want, and based on that feedback the companies making smartwatches improve their products. For example, recently Google suggested its partners that customers want NFC and heart rate monitor in their smartwatches, which is the reason why latest smartwatches are coming out with these features (i.e. Skagen Falster 2).
Explaining the reasoning behind this decision to not build a watch of their own, Miles Barr said that there’s no perfect watch that can appeal to every person. Instead, the choice of watches among buyers varies by their requirements, fashion sense, and lifestyles. The current ecosystem of Wear OS reflects this diversity perfectly – there’re watches for fitness enthusiasts, watches for outdoor adventures, watches aimed almost completely on design and some watches that blend all these elements nicely. Google itself, however, has not yet been able to devise a universal smartwatch formula that can cater to the requirements of everyone.
However, if Google ever embarks on such a project of must-have Google Pixel Watch then the product will make heavy use of Google Assistant and other AI prowess developed by the company till now. Barr said in this regard:
“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.”
The future of Wear OS
Speaking about the future of Wear OS during the interview, Miles Barr said that the recent redesign update will be followed by another update aimed at power saving. That update will come early next year, and it will drastically improve the battery life of Wear OS based smartwatches. The inspiration and strategies for this update will be taken from work that the company has already done for Android. There will be a Doze mode that will power down things when you’re interacting less with the watch. Machine learning technology will also be utilized to fine tune the running processes for maximum battery life.
Barr also revealed that the next update to Wear OS won’t be called Wear OS 3.0. Instead, it will be called something else. The reason? Read it in his own words:
“We want to move away from version numbers. Version numbers led us into a trap where we can only update once a year. Wear OS experience is evolving, and this is the start of that evolution. We want to keep rolling out improvements on a regular basis so users aren’t pent up waiting.”
As you can see, Barr has left us with many nuggets of curiosity after this interview. What will be the name of next Wear OS update? When will the company launch its AI-powered smartwatch? These are some million, perhaps even billion dollar questions to be answered right now. Therefore, it will be interesting to see when we get them answered.
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