Following the announcement of its next-generation smartwatch the Pixel Watch 2 by Google at the Made by Google event;
Ardit Ballhysa, Technology Analyst at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, offers his view:
“Google’s newly announced Pixel Watch 2 offers much-needed improvements over the company’s first-generation smartwatch by way of improved health and fitness sensors and integrated generative AI, making it much more worthy of inheriting Fitbit’s legacy over the original Pixel Watch. However, the smartwatch continues to fall short compared to competitors due to limited size options and compromised durability.
“The new sensors bring the Pixel Watch 2 more in line with smartwatches from Apple, Samsung, and Garmin. Google’s smartwatch market penetration has thus far failed to make a dent, but these new health and fitness capabilities may be enough to start making Google’s smartwatch offering more relevant in the market.
“Google’s decision to integrate generative AI features into the Pixel Watch 2 via the Fitbit app will further strengthen its position in the market as it makes the device clearly stand out from competing smartwatch brands. While Garmin does offer similar capabilities with its Training Readiness and Health Snapshot by pulling data across several metrics to provide users with deep insights into their health, the Fitbit Labs solutions draw on the benefits of generative AI to make insights more personalized and conversational, as opposed to presenting users with raw data that can sometimes be a little tricky to understand and glean insights from.
“While these new features and capabilities will indeed help Google secure a better position at the same table as its fellow rival smartwatch manufacturers, some decisions by the company will reduce the ferocity of that. For starters, the Pixel Watch 2 continues to depress consumers with large wrists or hands by only offering a 41mm diameter display. Offering only one display size, and a small one at that, will only serve to weaken Google’s smartwatch play while strengthening the position of rivals that can accommodate users with large wrists.
“Another poor decision that could dampen Google’s prospects of gaining relevancy in the smartwatch space is the company’s decision to only provide users with an aluminum chassis option instead of the more premium and durable stainless steel offered in the original Pixel Watch and on most rival smartwatches. Some users care about optics and only rocking the best of the best, and aluminum provides neither. Other users, especially the fitness focused ones that put their smartwatches through the wringer, care about durability, and again aluminum loses to stainless steel. To not offer a stainless-steel version is a poor strategic move that will cost Google customers, revenue, and market share.
“Furthermore, limiting the accessibility of its smartwatch by neglecting to provide options to cater to a larger userbase gives the impression that Google is still testing the waters of the desirability of its smartwatch before going all-out and creating multiple options for the same smartwatch. That, or the company’s strategy is off kilter. Here’s to hoping that the Pixel Watch 3 gives users more options.”