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Google smartwatches reportedly cancelled in 2016, no Pixel Watch this year

It's also believed that Google gained access to radical hybrid smartwatch technology earlier this year.

Published onSeptember 18, 2019

OEMs currently make Wear OS watches, but a Google watch was in the works.
A smartwatch running Wear OS.

We’ve seen numerous rumors over the years detailing the existence of a Google-branded smartwatch, also known as a Pixel Watch. Now, a clearer picture is starting to emerge, and it turns out that this watch was indeed on the way at one point.

The search company was preparing two watches to launch alongside the first-generation Pixel phone series back in 2016, according to Business Insider (h/t: 9to5Google), citing a former employee.

What happened to the Google watch?

Unfortunately, Rick Osterloh, who had just taken over Google’s hardware business at the time, reportedly nixed the watches’ release. It’s believed that the new LG-made watches, which would’ve apparently been called the Google Watch and launched alongside the Pixel series, didn’t share the same design language as other Google-branded products.

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A Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 rests on a leather surface displaying the watch face Venom by Thema.

This wasn’t the only apparent reason for the watch series being cancelled, as it was reported that syncing between the Pixel phone and the watches “didn’t work that great.” This is a fundamental feature for wearables, and having a basic feature not working well wouldn’t be a good look for Google, one can imagine.

Business Insider says the watches weren’t totally killed off, as they later re-emerged as the LG Watch Style and LG Watch Sport. The outlet also reports that a Google-made smartwatch isn’t expected to be shown off at its October 15 launch event.

Google not giving up yet?

fossil gen 5 smartwatch review google fit
A Fossil smartwatch.

News of a nixed Google Watch or Pixel Watch also comes as Wareable detailed just what Google gained in a $40-million deal with smartwatch maker Fossil back in January 2019. The outlet, citing several sources, reported that Google signed a license share agreement for “hybrid smartwatch technology” as well as acquiring 20 engineering staff.

The technology is reportedly dubbed Diana (a combination of digital and analog), and was built by Misfit engineers. Misfit was bought by Fossil back in 2015.

Diana technology apparently features designs that combine digital and analog elements in different ways. Wareable says some of these designs feature screens, while some don’t. It’s also believed that this tech consumes much less battery life than a traditional digital smartwatch.

Read next: Google’s other hardware acquisitions: Where are they now?

The deal with Fossil certainly suggests that Google isn’t giving up on the smartwatch sector just yet. Would you buy a combination digital/analog smartwatch though? Give us your thoughts below!

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