The world of Wear OS smartwatches grew to become much more fascinating this week with Google’s announcement of its first smartwatch, the Pixel Watch. While there’s no scarcity of Android-compatible smartwatches, there are comparatively few dominant gamers on this market, particularly while you slim the sector right down to units that provide a local Wear OS expertise.
While a couple of Wear OS smartwatches just like the Moto 360 and Oppo Watch have made some impression, it’s honest to say that Samsung’s Galaxy Watch lineup dominates the panorama. Samsung watches are undoubtedly the primary units most people consider on the subject of Android smartwatches, however which will change now that Google is placing its weight behind the Pixel Watch.
It stays to be seen whether or not Pixel Watch will ultimately topple the Galaxy Watch 5, however its arrival additionally raises one other necessary query for smartwatch followers: What in regards to the overwhelmingly common Apple Watch?
There’s little doubt that the Apple Watch is the perfect smartwatch for iPhone homeowners, however it additionally doesn’t damage Apple’s ecosystem that it’s nearly the one smartwatch that’s actually appropriate with the iPhone.
At one time, Android watchmakers like Samsung supplied some iPhone compatibility with a third-party Galaxy Watch iOS app. For no matter motive, it stopped doing that a few years in the past; the 2020 Galaxy Watch 3 was the final Samsung smartwatch that iPhone customers may get pleasure from. Since then, the Galaxy Watch has been an Android-only affair.
Google doesn’t appear inclined to vary that with the Pixel Watch, which has compatibility specs similar to the Galaxy Watch 5. In different phrases, the Google Pixel Watch solely works with Android telephones and does not work with iPhones.
While that appears to restrict selection, it’s not completely a nasty factor. Whether they’re operating watchOS or Wear OS, trendy smartwatches are designed to be an extension of your smartphone, providing up notifications and handing off actions between the bigger display and your wearable.
That requires a deep degree of integration into the working system in your smartphone, so it’s not one thing a third-party app can do practically as properly. Smartwatches are significantly extra complicated than AirPods or Pixel Buds, which, regardless of their superior options, nonetheless use an industry-standard Bluetooth audio connection underneath the hood.
Put merely, Google desires to be sure that Pixel Watch homeowners can get pleasure from the whole Wear OS expertise, and doing that requires Android on the opposite finish. While an iOS app may simply deal with the Fitbit-powered well being and health options, if that’s all you wish to do along with your Pixel Watch, it can save you cash by selecting up a Fitbit as an alternative.
The Pixel Watch is a perfect companion for a Pixel smartphone, particularly Google’s new Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro, for which it’s been designed with matching aesthetics. However, you’ll be happy to know that you simply don’t have to personal a Pixel to make use of the Pixel Watch.
Technically talking, the Pixel Watch is appropriate with any smartphone operating Android 8.0 or later. This compatibility is offered via the Google Pixel Watch app on the Play Store. However, it’s value retaining in thoughts that you simply’ll probably get the perfect Pixel Watch expertise in case you additionally use a Pixel cellphone.
That’s not distinctive to Google, both. The Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 additionally works with any Android 8.0 system, however sure options like Samsung Pay will solely work in case you’ve paired it up with a Samsung smartphone. Since Google takes a extra purist strategy to Android, Pixel Watch will probably have fewer restrictions, however there’s nonetheless little doubt that Google has designed it to work greatest with a Pixel cellphone.
The concession to different smartphone platforms probably has extra to do with the open nature of Android. The Apple Watch solely works with the iPhone as a result of the iPhone is the one system that runs iOS. With Android on practically each different smartphone in the marketplace, there’s no motive for Google to restrict its buyer base to solely its smartphones when it could actually help a a lot bigger world of Android units with minimal effort.
Android has all the time been about providing extra selections, and that’s equally true of the Wear OS smartwatch ecosystem. While Google’s Pixel Watch isn’t fairly able to tackle Samsung’s Galaxy Watch 5, it’s additionally simply the primary entry. It can be thrilling to see what Google has in retailer for future variations because it continues increasing its Pixel ecosystem.