New details about Google’s upcoming Pixel Watch that has emerged on news sources suggests that the smart watch may feature the next-generation Google Assistant and may also be powered by a Samsung Exynos chip.
Before getting into further details of what the features of Google’s upcoming Pixel Watch will be, let’s remind that there is big question yet unanswered. The big question is how the company wishes or prefers to brand the Pixel watch? Although Fitbit has already revealed its plans to create a Wear OS smart watch by Google with its own Fitbit integrations on it. While the branding and marketing of Google’s smart watch are still perceived as far from been finalized, it’s been confirmed that Google is making plans to launch its Pixel-branded watch.
According to 9to5Google, since the second year of the Pixel lineup, Google has included an Android “feature” tag within the phones called “PIXEL_EXPERIENCE.” Some of Google’s apps check for this tag to know when to offer Pixel-exclusive features. With subsequent generations of Pixel phones, Google has continued to issue out more features that were exclusive to the latest Pixel phones. This has led to annual feature tags like “PIXEL_EXPERIENCE_2021” for the Pixel 6 series, as well as tags like “PIXEL_EXPERIENCE_2020_MIDYEAR” for the Pixel 5a. In a recent update to a Google app, “PIXEL_EXPERIENCE_WATCH” was found, which is an indication that Google’s first-party smart watch will indeed be a carrier of the “Pixel” name. Also an indication that the Pixel smart watch should have features that will not be available on other Wear OS watches at least for now.
Since the release of the Google Pixel 4, the Pixel phone series have continued to offer the “next-generation Assistant.” What gives this Assistant a sense of difference and uniqueness is its ability to process your speech directly on your device, rather than via one of Google’s servers, which leads to a massive speedup. The ability of the next-gen Assistant to carry out things in your apps, such as filtering a gallery in Google Photos, using only your voice sets it apart with these most important advantage. Additionally, certain tasks — like tweaking your phone settings — entirely offline can also be carried out by this next-gen Assistant.
As reported by Front Page Tech and Business Insider, while digging into various Google apps, references were made to “Rohan,” a codename reported to be associated with the Pixel Watch. Through these references, we were able to directly tie “Rohan” to the addition of the next-generation Assistant to Wear OS devices. Considering the next-gen Assistant is still a Pixel exclusive, this further points to “Rohan” being a “Pixel” watch.
In additional, the Wear OS 3 emulator — which is quite the treasure trove of Pixel Watch tidbits, recently showcased about 10 watch faces developed by Google — which includes assets that may give us a hint at what the next-generation Google Assistant would look as a smartwatch. The most important aspect of this graphic points to the four-color “light bar” design as shown at the bottom of the screen. Since the Pixel 4 debutted, the signature “look” of the next-gen Assistant on phones has been like this. It only makes sense that this design would be copied— with a delightful curve — on smartwatches.
A second button is shown on the graphic of the watch, something that renders of the Pixel Watch have thus far not shown. Having said that, this is a matches with the design of the generic smart watch that appears in demo animations of the original Wear OS 3 announcement. Either way, there is a clear indication that Google wants the Assistant to be more deeply integrated with Wear OS than it already is. While the full set of next-gen Assistant features may not be as useful on watches as they are on phones, the speed boost to speech recognition would be much appreciated, as Assistant on Wear OS has been quite slow in years past.
Notably, for the next-gen Assistant to function as much as it does on the Pixel phones, there is a great need for it to be able to process speech directly on the device. What this means is that there is an undoubtedly requirement for a higher-end smartwatch chip. Furthermore, during the course of digging into references of the “Rohan” codename that have surfaced across various places in Wear OS related code, evidence have suggested that the device may have the powering of a Samsung Exynos processor. These evidence isn’t clear whether this would be the same chip as found in the Galaxy Watch 4, the Exynos W920. Although not confirmed yet but the use of an Exynos chip in Google smart watches would not come as a surprise. Samsung and Google have partnered closely on the development and release of Wear OS 3, with the Galaxy Watch 4 even serving to debut the new Android 11 based version of Wear OS. Between the enhancements of Wear OS 3 and the high-end Exynos chip, the Galaxy Watch 4 is quite the current pinnacle of what an Android powered smartwatch would look like.
Beyond that, Google Tensor chips that power the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro are, at their core, Samsung Exynos chips integrated with Google-designed components like the Tensor Processing Unit (TPU). There is the possibility that Google could take an Exynos chip, infuse some of their own hardware into it, and rebrand it as a Google Tensor chip. Or, it could simply release with an Exynos-branded chip.