One of the highlights of Google IO 2022 was the long-awaited unveiling of the Google Pixel Watch. Or at least an extended tease. Google hasn’t revealed everything about the wearable, but much of what it does say is worth getting excited about – with the built-in Fitbit tech being a highlight. But something less positive has also been revealed: it is not compatible with iPhones.
This means that if you have an iPhone, you won’t be able to connect a Pixel Watch to it, which essentially renders the wearable useless to you.
If you’re rooted in Apple’s ecosystem, this probably won’t come as a surprise, as the Apple Watch has never been compatible with Android phones. But most Wear OS watches work with iPhones, so this feels like a step backwards and a potential disappointment for many potential buyers.
Worse, the Pixel Watch isn’t the only one shunning the iPhone – the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 and Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic do too.
This is notable because currently, these are the only wearables running Wear OS 3 (the latest version of the operating system). When the Galaxy Watch 4 series launched, it was hoped that this was a Samsung decision, but now that the Pixel Watch doesn’t support the iPhone either, it’s starting to look like a limitation. software.
In other words, it’s possible that no Wear OS 3 watches will support iPhones – although it’s worth noting that this hasn’t been confirmed. Even though more Wear OS 3 watches are launching with iPhone support, that arguably leaves the two biggest names in Wear OS without it.
Analysis: Google becomes more Apple
As stated above, Apple has a history of locking users into its ecosystem and, most relevant in this case, does not allow you to use the Apple Watch with a phone that is not running iOS. But Google is different, or was anyway.
One of the main selling points of Android (and Wear OS) is the open nature of the software. You are not tied to a specific brand or even a specific app store. It’s your device, so you can do whatever you want with it and connect whatever you want to it.
While that move doesn’t lock it down as much as Apple did with the Apple Watch (after all, there are still hundreds, if not thousands, of different Android phones you’ll be able to pair it with), it’s definitely a step in that direction, and one that’s disappointing to see.
Wear OS already feels like an underdog in the smartwatch space (not helped by Google’s neglect of the platform), and while it ultimately feels like Google is paying some attention to it, locking down millions of potential users does not seem to be playing smart.