5 ways the Pixel Watch can save Google's Wear OS
If you like the world of wearables, you've probably already heard of Wear OS, but unfortunately, the operating system designed by Google for smartwatches and other wearables still struggles to convince. And for good reason. It lacks some features, including a flagship watch, to allow it to really shine. The Pixel Watch could be Google's answer to this problem. While waiting for an official word on the hardware, here are five things that we would like to find on this connected watch.
1. Better battery life
Let's not hide it from ourselves. The battery of smartwatches running Wear OS has never been their strong point. Qualcomm's new processor, the Snapdragon Wear 3100, was meant to change the situation, but the reality is unfortunately a little different. The watches connected to the Google ecosystem simply offer us a day of endurance, which is a very poor performance compared to what the competition can offer today. Certainly, it is always possible to improve this via a particularly aggressive energy saving mode but it deprives all (or almost all) of the features that make a smartwatch interesting.
This new Pixel Watch, thanks to perfect optimization between software and hardware, could finally allow you to gain a few hours, even a few days, more autonomy. Without reaching the endurance of a fitness tracker, the Pixel Watch could offer more flexibility in the field and you could avoid having to charge your watch every night.
2. A much smoother OS
Like it or not, Wear OS is not the most fluid smartwatch operating system available either. The platform may become more and more mature since the update to Android Wear 2.0 and its transition to the current name of Wear OS in early 2018, but sometimes you have to be patient. Opening apps or accessing settings can be a rather painful experience.
If waiting times are not necessarily catastrophic, it is regrettable to experience this with a smartwatch that sometimes costs more than $300, so the Pixel Watch is the perfect opportunity for Google to show that its OS is capable of competing with the competition, and to finally offer a premium experience for a smartwatch user on Android. So, engineers, you're going to have to optimize your software! Do not hesitate to ask Samsung or Apple for help.
3. A new version of Google Fit
Many people use their smartphones to track their activities. Under Wear OS, it is Google Fit that keeps a close eye on the number of steps you take every day (among other things) and gives you an overview of your personal fitness goals. The only concern is that the app is once again struggling to reach the level of its competition.
After a major update in August and another at the end of the year, it's time for Google to offer a completely new application for the release of the Pixel Watch. Or failing that, you should be able to install the third-party app of your choice to replace Google Fit.
4. An ECG feature
The integrated electrocardiogram feature was the star of Apple's keynote in September when the Cupertino firm introduced the latest version of its smartwatch, the Apple Watch Series 4. Other manufacturers have followed the trend. This is the case, for example, of Withings and its Move ECG presented in Las Vegas last January. Google would, therefore, have everything to gain by offering the same functionality on its Pixel Watch. Especially since constant monitoring of cardiac activity can be useful.
Without replacing a doctor, it alerts people suffering from atrial fibrillation. Not long ago, the German doctor Deneke reminded us that there is a large part of the population that suffers from this disease without knowing it: "Among the those over 80, the proportion is as high as ten percent. That's what makes atrial fibrillation a real people's disease. And there is a very high number of unreported cases because there are many asymptomatic patients or patients who have not yet been diagnosed despite symptoms."
5. A proper wow factor
The smartwatch has achieved its mission, that of bringing the idea of wearing a watch on your wrist back up to date. The appearance of the smartphone has had the opposite effect on watch wearing for many people, and the connected watch now lacks a wow factor to really seduce people. The Pixel Watch will, therefore, have to offer a particular feature that will allow it to stand out and turn the heads of new users. The arrival of 5G could help Google find this special something, by having direct communication with lots of other connected devices.
Do you think you will be interested in the Pixel Watch? What feature would you like to see most? Share your ideas with us in the comments.
Google can bring out another watch... And a new version of Wear OS... As long as my LG Urbane can get the new Wear OS.
I love my Fitbit Charge 2 for steps & sleep tracking. It would be great to have an ECG tracking device, and a connection to my Android phone, but I'm not in a hurry to buy something new at this time. The Fitbit LOOKS good ... most of the Wear OS watches are huge and clunky looking ... I'll pass at this time!
An ECG feature would be nice. Beginning stages of congestive heart failure for me. Man...sucks...gave up Mt. Dew, potato chips, fries...all the good stuff LOL. Would be nice to have the ECG. Already use the heart rate/sleeping feature on my Gear S3 Frontier. Extended the battery life to 4 days by disabling the rotate your wrist to wake feature. No big deal to push the button to see the time. I use it mostly for phone notifications, so I don't have to jack with pulling out my phone the 3,593 times a day for a call, text, email.
I didn't actually check out the upcoming Pixel Watch. I already bought two Polar M600 watches this year.
Whatever, I do hope that some smartwatch is to establish wear OS and Android as a stable fact of life - rather than some necessity that most vendors seem to be happy to include for free (to them).
There is bound to be a market for smartphones and smartwatches that can (nearly) entirely be tweaked to the needs or whims of the owner - as opposed to the more or less taxi driver approach of Apple as I see it ("You may open the windows, but it's still me that decides how to take you there.")
Please, let these creative people develop their individual great ideas for one single platform (counting Android and wear OS as one), using a single SDK, and let them earn at least their coffee back in return through the Play Store. Google could encourage them by designing or endorsing its own hardware (like the Pixel C tablet, the Nexus range, whatever), and commit itself to several years of doing so.
Excuse me for drifting away for a paragraph. This year I have bought an Android tablet that I like so much, that I have two more in backorder. A single person! In the meantime, I have also purchased the top edition of the top iPad (and these Polars and an Android smartphone). I'm almost done reviewing my options for software. The kind of software that would suit this iPad doesn't even exist for Android. (I'm thinking of the Omni Group in particular.) My guess: nobody on the Android ecosystem would be willing to pay for many hours of craftsmanship (I admit: AND paying Apple or Google for their marketing or whatever you name it). Me, I would be willing to pay for the software (and for the hardware: I'd love a powerhouse Android tablet), but it isn't there!
Therefore, I'm not too optimistic regarding the future of Pixel watches and of wear OS.
@Chris Laarman, what tablet did you go for?
On the ECG front I already have a Kardia device and use it successfully with my Android phone (Samsung S9).
That Android tablet is the Mi Pad 4 Plus (by Xiaomi), with options 128GB storage and a Global ROM.