The Google Pixel Watch is steaming towards a 4 October 2023 release date and we now have a good idea about the key changes and features.
The smartwatch has now been officially teased by Google and we have a good idea what to expect – and an exact release date.
And after a hit-and-miss debut, anticipation for the second-gen Google smartwatch is high.
There were some elements Google knocked out of the park with the first Pixel smartwatch, like the classy design and strong Wear OS performance, but it also had some catastrophic lows.
Here's everything you need to know.
Google Pixel Watch 2: Potential release date
The Google Pixel Watch 2 has been teased by Google in the above video. And there's a definitive release date for the device.
The newest Google smartwatch will be revealed in full on 4 October October, at 10am ET.
The teaser video: What did we learn?
Google has shown off the Pixel Watch 2 in a 15-second teaser video. There aren't any confirmed specs as yet – but there's still plenty to learn.
Firstly, the design will remain largely the same. That's good news, as the Pixel Watch is a good-looking smartwatch – but there's no word on adding an extra, larger, case size, which is top of our feature wish list.
The sensor array has dramatically changed on the back, and is now larger. That could mean extra sensors (such as the EDA from the Fitbit Sense 2), or a move to more accurate tracking.
The crown has also been redesigned.
Pixel Watch 2 leaks
According to new leaks, the upcoming Google Pixel Watch 2 is set to address the battery life issue of the original.
The smartwatch will reportedly switch from Samsung's Exynos 9110 to the new Qualcomm Snapdragon W5+.
The Snapdragon W5+ has only appeared on the Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 5 so far, but it's far more power-efficient than the Exynos 9110 used on the original. The 9110 was already out of date when the Pixel Watch was released, and as expected, it's been the root cause of battery life issues.
In our review, the original Pixel Watch struggled to last a whole day – so big changes were required for the follow-up device.
In a new leak reported by Android Authority, it's alleged that Google will up the battery capacity by just 4% to 300mAh, so it's all on the Snapdragon hardware to deliver a big battery boost.
Pixel 2 to get UWB
One big addition to the Pixel 2, according to the same Android Authority report, is the addition of ultra-wideband.
That would enable the Pixel 2 to provide digital car key features, as well as effective find my device features.
That means you could use your Pixel Watch to find your car keys, using Google-powered AirTag style accessories.
New health sensors, Fitbit overhaul
Additionally, the report indicates that the Pixel Watch 2 will feature similar health sensors to the Fitbit Sense 2, potentially including stress tracking and skin temperature monitoring. The Pixel Watch 2 is set to be unveiled in October, coinciding with the launch of Wear OS 4.
And in July, a new rumor dropped on 9to5Mac that Google would change from a stainless steel case to aluminum. The reasons aren't clear, but it would make the Pixel Watch 2 less premium - and presumably cost Google less to make.
However, there's no indication of a drop in price for the Pixel 2.
The report also states that the Fitbit app will also get an overhaul – with the addition of a new Coaching tab.
And the launch of the Pixel Watch 2 could see its unveiling.
Google Pixel Watch 2 wishlist: What we want to see
What Google needs to do to make the Pixel Watch 2 a competitor
Offer a larger case size option
While it's not unusual for smartwatch manufacturers to offer a singular case size, this feels like an easy area in which Google can help give the Pixel Watch more appeal next time around - as well as close the gap to Apple and Samsung.
We actually loved the design of the debut smartwatch - so much so, we'd argue it's the nicest-looking on the market - but a slightly bigger option for those with larger wrists certainly wouldn't go amiss.
We should applaud, as well, the fact the Pixel Watch's 41mm case size was the most unisex one-size option we've seen in a smartwatch.
In the past, rivals have often made their singular case option far too big for most women and those with smaller wrists, so at least the Pixel Watch didn't fall foul of that trope.
As an aside to a larger case option, more case colors would be a natural addition, as well, but this bothers us much less.
And it's something that could change, too, if leaks are anything to go by.
Leaked Pixel Watch 2 codenames suggest two different models are inbound, and, while this could denote the Bluetooth and Bluetooth/LTE versions, it's also possible that it's related to two distinct variations.
Improve the battery life
There's no other place to start, really. The battery life on the Pixel Watch is as crippling as we've experienced on a big-name smartwatch, and it means what should be a 24/7 device very rarely performs as such.
Unless you're willing to make some pretty big compromises, such as charging it overnight or carrying a charger with you pretty much all the time, the Pixel Watch's staying power is a good few hours off being useable.
Google claims 24-hour life with the original model, and, while this is able to be squeezed out, we often found supplies start to run dry after around 15-20 hours.
As we say, there will be some users who won't find this a problem, but anybody interested in features like untethered exercise tracking or the always-on display will be charging at least once per day, and that's fairly unforgivable.
Just how much Google improves the battery life will likely be a big determining factor in how the Pixel Watch 2 is received, so here's hoping it's able to blow the original's capabilities out of the water.
Boost the internals
Much has been made about the Pixel Watch's use of an older Exynos 9110 10nm SoC, which is a generation behind the Galaxy Watch 5.
And while the experience of using the Pixel Watch didn't suffer (thanks in part to 32GB of RAM on board), it's going to need cutting-edge power management and efficiency to catch up with rivals in the battery department.
Indeed, in our interview with Fossil's VP of Product Brook Eaton, he told Wareable that Wear OS 3 was an "opportunity to start to do more with the coprocessor" to boost battery life.
For Pixel Watch 2, we want Google to wow us with Wear OS's true potential.
Deliver a health tracking innovation
The Pixel Watch offers the odd premium health tracking feature, such as the ability to take ECG readings, but, overall, it's an area where the watch feels at least a couple of generations out of date.
And with Fitbit proving to be an innovator in this niche previously, we'd love to see Google carry the mantle and put more of an emphasis on health tracking in the Pixel Watch 2.
We've seen Samsung pioneer features like tethered blood pressure readings and body composition analysis from the wrist, and Apple has recently debuted women-focused health features off the back of the Series 8's temperature sensor.
The Pixel Watch 2 needs all these same features if it's going to become a serious alternative, but it also needs to offer something you can't get on other smartwatches.
Porting over the Fitbit Sense 2's continuous electrodermal sensor for deeper stress insights would be a good start, but, really, the Pixel Watch 2 should be aiming for an exclusive headline health feature.
Something like an early version of glucose monitoring still obviously feels like a way away even for established smartwatch manufacturers, so we wouldn't count on Google being the blazer of that trail, despite its obvious financial might.
However, native blood pressure monitoring could represent a possible avenue, or perhaps Google goes all-in on hydration tracking.
Whatever it is, it needs a standout health feature to avoid it becoming lost in the shuffle.
Enhance the sports tracking experience
For most people, we think that the sports tracking experience on the Pixel Watch is at a good level. All the basic metrics are present during workouts, and, due to the Fitbit integration, it's all kept in a hub that allows you to intuitively access the feedback.
However, with some improvements, it could really begin to threaten the top smartwatches.
We found some minor accuracy issues with the heart rate monitor at high intensities during testing, and the GPS, while certainly good enough to get by, doesn't offer any different tracking types for when you need that bit more reliability.
Then there's the depth of these tracking features. We're beginning to see smartwatches become much more capable sports watches, providing more advanced in-workout and post-workout feedback, and the Pixel Watch still feels a couple of years behind some alternatives.
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