The Google Pixel Watch may have only arrived in 2022, but attention has already turned to the Pixel Watch 2 that's expected to arrive later this year.
And after a hit-and-miss debut, anticipation for the second-gen Google smartwatch is high.
There were some elements Google knocked out of the park with the first Pixel smartwatch, like the classy design and strong Wear OS performance, but it also had some catastrophic lows.
Disappointing battery life holds it back from even being the top smartwatch for Android users - a title we'd still give to Samsung's Galaxy Watch 5 series - let alone the best smartwatch on the market.
We're expecting Google to remedy some of the sore spots with the Pixel Watch 2, and this guide details six ways the company in which the company can bounce back.
We're also constantly tracking the latest Pixel Watch 2 rumors, so scan below for up-to-date information relating to the potential release date and price.
Google Pixel Watch 2: Potential release date
Rumors regarding the Pixel Watch 2 have been light, which does beg the question of whether Google is even looking to release the follow-up model in 2023.
This has recently been compounded by the fact Google was silent on any potential upcoming smartwatch at its I/O event, though it did at least announce Wear OS 4.
Given the 2022 I/O event is when we first saw the Pixel Watch teased before a fuller October announcement and release, this isn't the best sign.
However, it's also true that Google may be playing by different rules for a second-gen device, and wouldn't want to outdate the current Pixel Watch unnecessarily.
With this in mind, then, it does still feel likely the Pixel Watch 2 will be released in October 2023, but stay tuned for more details over the next few months.
Recently, a leak also suggested the upcoming smartwatch will be called Pixel Watch 2, which pretty much removes any doubt over whether Google would get creative with the naming.
Move to Snapdragon W5+
According to new leaks the upcoming Google Pixel Watch 2 is set to address the battery life issue of the original.
The smartwatch will reportedly switch from Samsung's Exynos 9110 to the new Qualcomm Snapdragon W5+. This contradicts previous rumors suggesting Google would stick with Samsung.
The Snapdragon W5+ has only appeared on the Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 5 so far, but early testing is promising, showing multi-day battery life.
In our review, the original Pixel Watch struggled to last a whole day – so big changes were required for the follow-up device.
The Pixel Watch 2 is expected to achieve over a day of use with the always-on display enabled, a significant improvement over its predecessor.
Additionally, the report indicates that the Pixel Watch 2 will feature similar health sensors to the Fitbit Sense 2, potentially including stress tracking and skin temperature monitoring. The Pixel Watch 2 is set to be unveiled in October, coinciding with the launch of Wear OS 4.
Google Pixel Watch 2 wishlist: What we need to see
What Google needs to do to make the Pixel Watch 2 a competitor
Offer a larger case size option
While it's not unusual for smartwatch manufacturers to offer a singular case size, this feels like an easy area in which Google can help give the Pixel Watch more appeal next time around - as well as close the gap to Apple and Samsung.
We actually loved the design of the debut smartwatch - so much so, we'd argue it's the nicest-looking on the market - but a slightly bigger option for those with larger wrists certainly wouldn't go amiss.
We should applaud, as well, the fact the Pixel Watch's 41mm case size was the most unisex one-size option we've seen in a smartwatch.
In the past, rivals have often made their singular case option far too big for most women and those with smaller wrists, so at least the Pixel Watch didn't fall foul of that trope.
As an aside to a larger case option, more case colors would be a natural addition, as well, but this bothers us much less.
And it's something that could change, too, if leaks are anything to go by.
Leaked Pixel Watch 2 codenames suggest two different models are inbound, and, while this could denote the Bluetooth and Bluetooth/LTE versions, it's also possible that it's related to two distinct variations.
Improve the battery life
There's no other place to start, really. The battery life on the Pixel Watch is as crippling as we've experienced on a big-name smartwatch, and it means what should be a 24/7 device very rarely performs as such.
Unless you're willing to make some pretty big compromises, such as charging it overnight or carrying a charger with you pretty much all the time, the Pixel Watch's staying power is a good few hours off being useable.
Google claims 24-hour life with the original model, and, while this is able to be squeezed out, we often found supplies start to run dry after around 15-20 hours.
As we say, there will be some users who won't find this a problem, but anybody interested in features like untethered exercise tracking or the always-on display will be charging at least once per day, and that's fairly unforgivable.
Just how much Google improves the battery life will likely be a big determining factor in how the Pixel Watch 2 is received, so here's hoping it's able to blow the original's capabilities out of the water.
Boost the internals
Much has been made about the Pixel Watch's use of an older Exynos 9110 10nm SoC, which is a generation behind the Galaxy Watch 5.
And while the experience of using the Pixel Watch didn't suffer (thanks in part to 32GB of RAM on board), it's going to need cutting-edge power management and efficiency to catch up with rivals in the battery department.
Indeed, in our interview with Fossil's VP of Product Brook Eaton, he told Wareable that Wear OS 3 was an "opportunity to start to do more with the coprocessor" to boost battery life.
For Pixel Watch 2, we want Google to wow us with Wear OS's true potential.
Deliver a health tracking innovation
The Pixel Watch offers the odd premium health tracking feature, such as the ability to take ECG readings, but, overall, it's an area where the watch feels at least a couple of generations out of date.
And with Fitbit proving to be an innovator in this niche previously, we'd love to see Google carry the mantle and put more of an emphasis on health tracking in the Pixel Watch 2.
We've seen Samsung pioneer features like tethered blood pressure readings and body composition analysis from the wrist, and Apple has recently debuted women-focused health features off the back of the Series 8's temperature sensor.
The Pixel Watch 2 needs all these same features if it's going to become a serious alternative, but it also needs to offer something you can't get on other smartwatches.
Porting over the Fitbit Sense 2's continuous electrodermal sensor for deeper stress insights would be a good start, but, really, the Pixel Watch 2 should be aiming for an exclusive headline health feature.
Something like an early version of glucose monitoring still obviously feels like a way away even for established smartwatch manufacturers, so we wouldn't count on Google being the blazer of that trail, despite its obvious financial might.
However, native blood pressure monitoring could represent a possible avenue, or perhaps Google goes all-in on hydration tracking.
Whatever it is, it needs a standout health feature to avoid it becoming lost in the shuffle.
Enhance the sports tracking experience
For most people, we think that the sports tracking experience on the Pixel Watch is at a good level. All the basic metrics are present during workouts, and, due to the Fitbit integration, it's all kept in a hub that allows you to intuitively access the feedback.
However, with some improvements, it could really begin to threaten the top smartwatches.
We found some minor accuracy issues with the heart rate monitor at high intensities during testing, and the GPS, while certainly good enough to get by, doesn't offer any different tracking types for when you need that bit more reliability.
Then there's the depth of these tracking features. We're beginning to see smartwatches become much more capable sports watches, providing more advanced in-workout and post-workout feedback, and the Pixel Watch still feels a couple of years behind some alternatives.
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