Google kills rumours of a 2018 Pixel Watch, says partners are the focus

Google’s director of engineering for Wear OS, Miles Barr, has killed rumours of the company releasing a first-party Wear OS watch (the so-called ‘Pixel Watch‘) this year, after leaks suggested that it might launch one alongside the Pixel 3 in October. 

Specifically, Barr said to Tom’s Guide that he doesn’t think the company is quite ready to put out a watch, saying “To think of a one-size-fits-all watch, I don’t think we’re there yet.”

Instead, he indicated that the company would continue to work with hardware partners to product smart watches, while spending its own time building the software to power these third-party devices.

“Our focus is on our partners for now,” he concluded.

Google later specifically confirmed that the company has no plans to announce a watch of its own this year.

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Who needs a Pixel Watch?

Rumours of a first-party ‘Pixel Watch’ started to circulate earlier this year when leaker Evan Blass tweeted to say one would be launched alongside the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL.

It sounded like an intriguing proposition. Since launching the Pixel line in 2016, Google has proven itself an adept hardware manufacturer, and has done a great job at showing off what can be done with stock Android.

With Wear OS watches lagging behind the Apple Watch in popularity, the hope was that Google’s first-party manufacturing talents could have a similar effect on its wearable division.

But for now it seems the company plans on continuing to let hardware partners including LG, Ticwatch and Misfit, take the lead on hardware.

Barr’s comments give us a decent clue as to why Google has chosen to stay out of the hardware race. Whereas smartphones are single devices that are expected to do everything, smartwatches continue to be fragmented between watches designed for activity tracking, and those meant more as a fashion accessory. Without the confidence to serve both markets, Google appears to be opting to stay out of the fight for now.

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