We've been hearing rumors about a Google Pixel smartwatch for years now, and according to a new report, we very nearly got one.
Google reportedly planned on launching its own smartwatch in fall 2016 as part of its Pixel family as part of an effort to step up and show what premium Android hardware could be like. According to sources speaker to Business Insider, Google had worked with LG on two watches and had already completed the photoshoot for them. Before the Pixel name had been settled on, the watches were originally going to be called "Google Watch".
And then Rick Osterloh came along. One of his first assignments while overseeing Google's hardware efforts was to streamline everything under development, make cuts, and create a central plan for everything. Today's report said that Osterloh wanted all of the devices that would be announced at Google's first Pixel event to look like they belonged together as a single family.
When looking at the smartwatches that Google had made with LG, Osterloh reportedly decided that they "didn't look like what belonged in the Pixel family," says a former employee who worked on the project. "We didn't want a peripheral product to bring down the name of the Google hardware brand."
It's also said that Osterloh didn't like how the watches worked with the Pixel phone and that the syncing between them "didn't work that great".
As we know now, those LG watches did end up getting dropped from Google's Pixel event. Because they were so far along, though, Google and LG decided to launch them as LG smartwatches, and they eventually became the LG Watch Sport and LG Watch Style.
Here's what a Google spokesperson had to say in response to this report:
"Since the very beginning, our focus has been on diversifying the ecosystem and working with a wide range of partners to bring hardware choices that represent different styles. In building the Wear 2.0 update referenced, we wanted to and did work with LG as a partner with an expertise to build devices that are both stylish and practical."
While the LG Watch Sport and LG Watch Style looked like nice Android Wear/Wear OS smartwatches, they didn't really take off with consumers. We haven't really seen any Android-powered smartwatch gain traction in the market, and though there are still Wear OS watches coming out regularly, the Apple Watch has taken a big piece of the market share and companies like Samsung and Fitbit are selling, too.
There are still rumors that Google is thinking about launching it's own smartwatch. The company recently paid $40 billion for smartwatch tech and employees from Fossil, one of the companies that is still putting out Wear OS watches, and job listings have suggested that Google may have an interest in making a watch. So far, though, we haven't seen any concrete evidence that a Pixel Watch is really going to come to market, and today's report says that no Google smartwatch is expected this year.
Would you be interested in a Pixel Watch made by Google?