Google is not releasing a smartwatch this year.
The company confirmed on Friday in an interview with Tom’s Guide that it has no plans to release it’s own-branded smartwatch in 2018.
Tech news sites have been in a frenzy over the past few months over what many believed was proof that the company planned to launch its own competitor to the Apple Watch. The product was expected to be named the Google “Pixel” watch and sold as a compliment to the existing Pixel phone — but now that dream is dead.
The idea was that the Pixel watch would used to showcase the best of the company’s WearOS software, similar to the way existing Pixel phones show off the best features of Android. Google currently relies on hardware makers like Fossil, Michael Kors, and Tag Heuer to make the physical watches.
The company says, for now, it will continue building software for wearables rather than building hardware. The statement makes complete sense, especially when you consider that the newest version of WearOS was announced earlier this week at IFA.
In the latest version of WearOS, Google chose to give most of the attention to its voice-controlled assistant, Google Assistant. Now when you swipe up on any watch, it pops up with what it thinks is relevant information provided by the Assistant. It does this by building a profile for each user based on things like location, calendar, email, and other data from Google services.
The new software also has places emphasis on Google Fit. Now when you swipe left from the home screen, you’ll see rings that track your movement and heart rate throughout the day. The menu is similar to the Activity app on the Apple Watch.
With such major improvements to the underlying operating system, it’s a shame Google isn’t launching its own smartwatch. The available WearOS smartwatches are all heavily stylized and don’t have the same kind of “one-size-fits-all” design of the Apple Watch. For now, we’re willing to give the new operating system a fair chance, but it sure wouldn’t have hurt to throw in a new watch style to get everyone excited. Maybe next year.
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