The watch is being called “Pixel Watch”, presumably to match Google’s line-up of Pixel smartphones, although executives have used “Android Watch” and a variety of other names to address it, the report said.
“A Google-branded smartwatch would involve the company going toe-to-toe with Apple, whose watch has proved a runaway success and captured control of the smartwatch market,” the report said.
This confirms another report from Jon Prosser, a blogger known for sharing Android product leaks, in April this year. Mr Prosser had confirmed the existence of the device and its Rohan codename.
This is not Google’s first attempt at making its own smartwatch: a Google-branded wearable device was cancelled at the last minute in 2016, after the company decided to focus on its software, Wear OS, rather than integrate it into its own hardware.
Google does not comment on rumours or speculation, the company’s Mena office told The National on Sunday when asked for a comment.
Any attempts by Google to take on Apple Watch would be a tall order, given the head start the iPhone maker has and the market share it commands in the smartwatch segment.
Apple continues to lead, with its watchOS platform enjoying a market share of 21.8 per cent, Counterpoint Research’s wearables market report for the third quarter of 2021 showed.
However, Google’s Wear OS grew 14.1 percentage points to 17.3 per cent from the previous quarter, thanks to a surge in Samsung watch sales. Fitbit commanded a 4.4 per cent market share.
In terms of units shipped, Apple dominated the market, with 32.2 million Watches sold in the second quarter of 2021 for a 34.1 per cent share, according to the International Data Corporation. Xiaomi was a distant second with 11.8 per cent. Apple’s share grew only 9.3 per cent annually, with the rest of the top brands, including Xiaomi, Huawei and Samsung, surging at least 37 per cent.
Google’s smartwatch is round and similar to what Samsung and Huawei have, but without the bezels, according to the Insider report. It will have a heart-rate monitor and basic health-tracking features such as a step counter. Development gained pace this year, with Google even allowing employees outside its watch team to test it.
A launch in the spring is possible if the latest testing rounds are a success but this would change depending on employees’ feedback. The device will come with its own proprietary bands – similar to those from Apple – with Google putting an emphasis on fit for a larger user base.
“An early concept document seen by Insider described Google’s ambitions to build a watch that would be comfortable to wear for at least 90 per cent of the population,” the report said, quoting the document The document said “insufficient sizing excludes some users from wearable ‘wristables’ entirely”.
Google would not be alone in challenging Apple. Last month, Bloomberg reported that Meta Platforms, the company previously known as Facebook, is developing a smartwatch with a front-facing camera and rounded screen, according to an image found inside one of the social media company’s iPhone apps.