Google announced itson Wednesday, furthering the tech giant’s expansion into hardware. The company teased its first smartwatch during its conference but plans to reveal more details closer to the device’s fall launch.
The watch has a domed circular design, runs on Google’s Wear OS smartwatch software and includes somehealth-tracking features. Google didn’t announce a price but said it will be sold as a premium product.
The Pixel Watch represents Google’s first major step into the smartwatch market, which saw shipments grow by 24% in 2021, according to Counterpoint Research. Google is a newcomer to this market. Rivals like and lead the market and have been selling smartwatches for years. The company sees its new smartwatch as crucial to building its Pixel brand into a full ecosystem of products similar to those offered by Apple and Samsung, spanning phones, tablets, wireless earbuds and smartwatches.
“You have your, you have your , you have YouTube Music,” said Ramon Llamas, a research director for International Data Corporation, a market research firm. “And now all of a sudden, you see this more than we have in previous years, a much clearer head-on competitor to Apple.”
The announcement comes more than a year afterclosed in January 2021. While the Fitbit team is driving the development of the Pixel Watch, Google isn’t planning to merge the two product lines, according to Rick Osterloh, Google’s senior vice president of devices and services.
, says James Park, Fitbit’s founder who now leads Google’s wearables division. Those who care about having more traditional smartwatch features like LTE support in addition to health tracking would likely opt for the Pixel Watch, while the Fitbit Charge would be ideal for consumers who care more about fitness and battery life.
“The great thing about combining Pixel and Fitbit is that we’re able to collectively offer these different devices,” Park said in an exclusive interview with CNET’s Scott Stein ahead of Google I/O. “People can pick and choose what’s best for them.”
Familiar Fitbit features like Active Zone Minutes, which measures the amount of time spent in certain heart rate ranges during exercise, will be available on the Pixel…