Rumors of a Google-branded smartwatch have persisted for years, but they might be close to coming true. Insider sources claim Google is planning to release its first self-developed smartwatch, codenamed "Rohan," in 2022. The Wear OS device would be an eye-catching device with a round display, but no physical bezel — the Galaxy Watch 4 might seem antiquated by comparison.
Rohan would be a relatively typical smartwatch on the inside with a heart rate sensor and a battery that would still require daily charging. It would use proprietary watch bands, so you'd have to forget about using conventional straps. A tipster talking to The Verge claimed the watch would "cost more than a Fitbit" and serve as an Apple Watch competitor.
The software may be the most important feature. Like Pixel phones, Rohan would serve as a "showcase" for Google's platform — in this case, Wear OS 3. The smartwatch (not necessarily called "Pixel Watch," despite the name floating around) would theoretically show customers what Wear OS can do, and give hardware partners a reference point to work from. It might also include a Fitbit tie-in, nicknamed "Nightlight."
Google has already declined to comment, citing a policy of not commenting on rumors or speculation. However, the concept might not be new. Google supposedly axed its first attempt at an official watch in 2016 and instead has put its trust in third-party offerings from Fossil, LG and others. It's moving forward now that it has not only finished acquiring Fitbit, but has reportedly merged its wearable team with Fitbit's and otherwise tried to replicate Apple's focus on health.
A first-party watch might be necessary. Apple continues to dominate the smartwatch market despite a flurry of low-cost hardware and competition from major brands like Samsung and Garmin. Some of this has been blamed on lackluster Wear OS hardware, not to mention a lack of significant OS updates. An official Google watch won't necessarily up-end the marketplace, but it could spur other watchmakers to try harder and add some (arguably needed) excitement.