Google is working on a smartwatch that it plans to launch next year according to an exclusive report from Business Insider.
The device, should it see the light of day, is internally code-named “Rohan” and should showcase the latest version of Google’s smartwatch software to customers and partners. This is in accordance with internal documents Business Insider had access to and backed up by multiple current and former employees of the tech giant.
Up to this moment in time, Google had not yet created its own smartwatches, preferring to create the software powering smartwatches built by the likes of Samsung and other partners. Dipping their feet in this industry would see Google take on Apple head to head, whose smartwatches have proved to be widely popular and a crucial accessory to the iPhone and iPad.
According to the report, Google has taken a different route in the design of their watch, featuring a circular design with no bezel. Functionalities, however, will be similar to that of Apple, with the smartwatch capable of capturing health and fitness metrics.
In a practice referred to as “dogfooding”, where Google let employees outside the smartwatch team test the device and provide feedback, they have been able to massively accelerate the development of the smartwatch and its release might come quite early in 2022.
Apart from Rohan, different leaks have referred to the smartwatch with different monikers, including the ‘Pixel Watch’ and ‘Android Watch’. However, Google is yet to officially announce the device, and thus the name might remain ambiguous for a while until their marketing team settles on an appropriate name.
Some of the features outlined in the report include a heart rate monitor and the ability to offer basic health tracking features such as step counting. The watch will also require daily charging, while the charging system itself will be quite slow. Sticking to what Apple has been doing, Rohan will also use proprietary watch bands.
According to an early concept document, Business Insider mentions that Google aimed to create a watch that would be comfortable to wear for at least 90% of the population. “Insufficient sizing excludes some users from wearable wristables entirely,” the document said.
The smartwatch market is well and truly dominated by the Apple Watch. In the first half of 2021 for instance, the Apple Watch OS accounted for 45.1% of smartwatch-OS shipments according to IDC. Smartwatches running Google’s Wear OS on the other hand only consisted of a paltry 3.1%
Google, therefore, has their work well and truly cut out if they are to take some of the market share currently owned by Apple. One thing they will have in their favour is the financial strength to take on Apple head-on, unlike other smaller companies that would most likely try to compete in different ways.