8 things we want to see in Google's smartwatch sequel

The Google Pixel Watch is the company’s first self-branded wearable, and for a freshman attempt, it gets a lot right. The watch features a unique and eye-catching design, plus surprisingly snappy performance given Google’s choice of an older Samsung chipset to power the thing. If style is high on your list of priorities, it’s one of your better Wear OS options today. Still, there’s plenty we’d change about the watch if we could. Here’s what we hope Google addresses in the Pixel Watch 2.

1 Better battery life

With few exceptions, you can expect current Wear OS smartwatches to last a day or two on a charge. The existing Pixel Watch falls on the lower end of that scale, managing about 24 hours of moderate use on a charge. Given the device’s premium price and ostensible focus on 24/7 health tracking, that’s not ideal; many traditional health trackers can make it up to a week without needing to recharge.

The single most important thing the Pixel Watch 2 needs to address is battery performance, either by way of a physically larger battery or smarter power management — if not both. Even an option to disable constant heart-rate tracking would likely go a long way here.

2 Smaller bezels

Given Wear OS’s tendency to employ a dark UI wherever possible, and the nature of the Pixel Watch’s OLED display, the hubbub around the thickness of its bezels might be a little overblown. Still, they are awfully prominent relative to the size of the screen. Smaller bezels in a Pixel Watch 2 would mean more usable screen space in a device the same size — an easy win.

3 A smoother display

While we’re on the subject of the Pixel Watch’s display, it’s not just the beefy bezels Google needs to address in a sequel. While many of the best Wear OS devices offer 60Hz displays, the first-generation Pixel Watch is capped at 30Hz.

The smooth 60Hz screen is one of the best things about the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5, and future watches from Google’s competitors will surely offer the same high refresh rate. A higher refresh rate means smoother on-screen animations; at 30Hz, things still look fine, but the slower refresh rate is a miss in a watch that costs $350. Assuming the Pixel Watch 2 is similarly priced, it needs a smoother screen (and hopefully, not at the expense of battery life).

4 A larger size option

The existing Pixel Watch is available in one size: 41mm. That’s a fine medium watch size, but on folks with thicker wrists, it can look a little dinky. Watches from competitors like Apple and Samsung are available in multiple sizes; you can get an Apple Watch Series 8 in 41mm and 45mm flavors, and the Galaxy Watch 5 comes in both 40mm and 42mm (not to mention the 45mm Watch 5 Pro).

The Galaxy Watch 5 Pro is the current king of big Wear OS watches.

If Google wants to appeal to the Big Watch crowd — a group many Android fans belong to — it needs to offer a larger size option in the Pixel Watch 2.

5 A newer chipset

Another minor controversy surrounding the first-generation Pixel Watch has seen Google criticized for its choice to go with a years-old Samsung chipset, the Exynos 9110, paired with a Cortex-M33 co-processor. Given the 9110 was used in the Tizen-powered Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 all the way back in 2020, it’s a minor miracle the Pixel Watch’s performance is reasonably on par with other modern smartwatches.

But a newer chipset in the Pixel Watch’s sequel could both provide the horsepower required to smoothly deliver a higher refresh rate while also making for better battery life, thanks to generational gains in power efficiency. This one seems like a safe ask; it would be very surprising to see Google trot out the same aging hardware two generations in a row.

6 Affordable band options

The Pixel Watch’s proprietary band connector, apparently inspired by the way lenses twist into place on camera bodies, is one of the more novel things about its hardware. But it also means that existing watch bands don’t fit — while many Wear OS watches can take bands from standard timepieces, only specially made bands fit the Pixel Watch. And the ones Google sells are expensive.

Google charges a staggering $50 for additional silicone bands like the one the Pixel Watch ships with, with leather and metal options going for even more. That’s steep, especially considering a recent bill-of-materials analysis found the Pixel Watch’s silicone bands cost about four bucks a piece to produce.

However unlikely it may be, it would be great to see more affordable band options from Google for the Pixel Watch 2. Failing that, an adapter to fit standard watch bands would work just fine. Sure, third parties eventually stepped up with adapters to use standard bands, but Google would be smart to embrace this option itself, right out of the gate.

7 Improved durability

The Pixel Watch’s domed-glass design is part of what helps it stand out from other Wear OS watches, but it’s also delicate: the edges of the display glass are unprotected, meaning a hard knock against a table could shatter your screen. We haven’t experienced this firsthand at AP, but reports of failing display glass started coming in before the Pixel Watch was even available for purchase.

Whether Google can address this shortcoming in a potential Pixel Watch 2 without compromising on the Pixel Watch’s aesthetic is unclear, but we can hope.

8 Functional Qi charging

The first-gen Pixel Watch recognizes when it’s placed on a standard wireless charger. It even plays its normal charging animation. The watch doesn’t actually charge this way, though; Google has confirmed that the Pixel Watch does not officially support Qi charging. This is especially grating considering the Google Pixel 7 supports reverse wireless charging for accessories like earbuds — but you can’t use it to top up your Pixel-branded watch the same way you can with watches from Samsung and others.

The design of many of the original Pixel Watch’s bands means you’d have to remove them to lay the watch flat on a charging surface, but that, too, is something Google could address in its own hardware that it’s designing from the ground up.

Other future Google hardware

While the Pixel Watch 2 may or may not currently be in development (we certainly expect that it is), Google definitely has some exciting hardware coming down the pike this year. We’re closely watching developments around both the multifunctional Google Pixel Tablet and the yet-unannounced Google Pixel 7a. Keep an eye on our coverage for all the latest.

Source: Google

Google Pixel Watch

We’ve been waiting for Google to make a watch for the better part of a decade, and the Google Pixel Watch has finally arrived. The first Android smartwatch with Fitbit health tracking, the Pixel Watch aims to help you stay fit or get fit easily while Wear OS 3.5 brings us Google’s vision for a wearable UI and exclusive Wear OS apps for Google services like Google Home.

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