Pixel Watch leak suggests Google is going in a drastically different direction to Apple

We’ve been hearing rumors about the Google Pixel Watch since before the average Fortnite player was born, and every once in a while interest in it sprouts for a brief moment – it happens again in early 2022 as people seem to think that it will be launched soon.

This is especially the case because someone left a smartwatch in a restaurant and pictures of it made their way to Android Central. Although I take this with a big pinch of salt, due to some discrepancies in the story and the fact that it could be a prototype or similar, a lot of people are excited about Google’s first wearable.

The images roughly match the renders we’ve been seeing for ages now, which makes it more likely that these images are legit, but they reinforce an idea these renders have given us: the Pixel 6 could be a very fragile and delicate watch. .

Look at this image: it’s a minimalist watch – some would say “chic” – with sleek curved sides and no bezel to speak of. It bears more than a passing resemblance to the 2020 Zepp E smartwatch, which was nice to look at but I was worried a strong gust of wind would shatter it.

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The images also show both a crown and a side button, which admittedly gives it more design cues than the Zepp – but it’s still a low-profile device.

Between renders and photos, it now seems fairly certain that this is the direction Google is heading with the Pixel Watch. I can’t help but wonder why, especially with Apple seemingly going the other way.

A rugged Apple Watch

There have been quite a few reports now that suggest Apple is working on a rugged – or durable – Apple Watch, possibly to go along with the Apple Watch 8, but more likely later.

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We first heard of this in mid-2021, but later information painted a clearer picture of what to expect: apparently this rugged Apple Watch will be designed for extreme sports. Knowing what Apple’s home state of California is like, Tim Cook is probably already testing it in the waves, in the mountains, in the canyons or somewhere even more dangerous – Dan Flashes.

Rugged tech is a growing trend – we’ve seen plenty of rugged smartphones, and even some smartwatches designed for heavy outdoor use. A good example is the Honor Watch GS Pro – it has a rugged design, super-long battery life, and modes that help you outdoors, like a GPS tracking mode that takes you back to where you started your expedition. .

It’s likely that Apple is looking in that direction, although I don’t imagine it will go all the way – “long battery life” and “Apple Watch” are two phrases that don’t belong in the same sentence, for example. But it wouldn’t be a complete surprise to see an Apple Watch with tools designed for outdoor enthusiasts.

A feature high on our ‘rugged Apple Watch’ wish list would be a physical bezel, as this design feature can be fantastic at protecting watches from scratches and bumps that would otherwise scratch the screen.

Previously, Apple Watches didn’t have much of a physical bezel, nor does it look like the Google Pixel Watch. And in both cases, flimsy and delicate smartwatches are increasingly becoming a problem.

GS Pro Honor Watch

(Image credit: future)

The problem of design rather than functionality

Where I live in the UK we are going through a cost of living crisis, making luxuries like gadgets less necessary compared to things like rent, food and quirky charity shop shirts (c are thrift stores, if you are in the United States). Thus, the devices that are offered for sale must really justify their existence and their purchase.

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This means they should last a long time. I don’t want to buy a phone only to have it break after a single drop, or to only last a year or two of use before having to buy a new one.

No, rugged smartphones are super important because they last us years and years without us having to buy a replacement. And that’s why a rugged Apple Watch would be super useful for active people and “couch-inclined” people – it will keep going for longer.

But not only that – a recent Google Pixel Watch price leak says it’s incredibly expensive, likely on par with the Apple Watch 7. If you’re paying big bucks, you want your watch to have plenty of useful features. – and judging by our time with the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic (which runs the same Wear OS 3 software as the Pixel Watch), and looking at the images mentioned above, I’m not sure the Pixel has a particular advantage.

Obviously, time could prove us otherwise, but nothing in these images seems to really justify the high price. Being beautiful is not a sufficient justification. I want useful features and tools.

And I don’t count “showing you notifications” and “counting your steps” as useful features. Not only are they so common on wearable gadgets that they barely register with me, but I’d say these features aren’t really useful to the vast majority of people. Does having your wrist, instead of your pocket, buzz really save you so much time?

And sure, fitness tracking is useful – except custom-made fitness trackers are much more affordable and running watches are better for the task. Plus, I’ve learned to appreciate workouts more when I ditch my smartwatch.

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Honestly, I really understand why smartwatches aren’t on everyone’s wrist yet (at least, via my own anecdotal experience) – for my purposes, they don’t have a real selling point yet.

Even though I didn’t take the Honor Watch GS Pro on a six-month mountain hiking expedition to uncharted lands when I tested it, I still found many of its rugged features useful in my everyday life, and hopefully, if Apple makes a rugged Apple Watch, it will be the same.

Which is to say, a rugged Apple Watch makes sense in 2022, as long as it doesn’t come at a ridiculous price tag. I want durable technology with lots of useful features and a rugged watch would do just that. But a flimsy, generic-looking Wear OS watch? It doesn’t really bring joy.

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