Google's Pixel Watch 2 could vastly improve its predecessor's battery life, power, and sensors

Google's Pixel Watch 2 could vastly improve its predecessor's battery life, power, and sensors
In many ways, Google's I/O 2023 developers conference a few weeks back unfolded exactly as predicted in the months leading up to the event, hosting among others the highly anticipated and long overdue announcements of the Pixel Fold and Pixel 7a.

In a few other ways, however, the search giant surprised us with its secrecy, mentioning nothing about the Pixel 8 and 8 Pro handsets we all know are coming in the fall while also failing to confirm the existence and imminence of a Pixel Watch 2 timidly rumored for a launch by the end of the year as well.

A powerful, frugal, and somewhat surprising SoC

The speculation around this second-gen Wear OS timepiece made by Big G is now growing in both intensity and credibility, with the typically reliable folks at 9To5Google reporting today on a number of key specs and major potential upgrades over the underwhelming Pixel Watch 1.

If the publication's inside sources prove accurate, the Pixel Watch 2 will come with a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor under the hood instead of a Samsung Exynos. The most likely suspect is the Snapdragon W5+ Gen 1, which powers the TicWatch Pro 5 Mobvoi unveiled just last week.

While that obviously means it's far too early to know exactly how said SoC will behave out in the real world, Qualcomm claims its "most advanced wearable platform yet" is "purpose-built" to deliver "ultra-low power for extended battery life, breakthrough performance for richer user experiences, and high integration for sleeker, innovative designs."

That definitely sounds promising and all but guarantees the Pixel Watch 2 will perform better and last longer between charges than the vast majority of existing Wear OS devices, which was not necessarily true for the first edition.

What remains to be seen, of course, is how this bad boy might compare in those departments with Samsung's Galaxy Watch 5 and Watch 5 Pro, as well as the upcoming Galaxy Watch 6 and Watch 6 Pro (or Watch 6 Classic). All of these Wear OS smartwatches use (or will use) Samsung-made Exynos processors, which was also true for last year's Pixel Watch.

But the ancient 10nm-based Exynos 9110 clearly held Google's rookie in-house Apple Watch-rivaling effort back in terms of both raw power and battery life, which the faster and much more frugal 4nm-based Snapdragon W5+ Gen 1 is expected to drastically upgrade.

Specifically, the Pixel Watch 2 could realistically keep the lights on for up to two days of (moderate) use on a single charge despite most likely not increasing its predecessor's physical battery size by "much."

A stronger health monitoring arsenal

What will probably be increased is the number of health sensors built into Google's Galaxy Watch 6 alternative this fall. This is far from impressive at the moment, only including what can be considered the basics for a wearable device typically starting at a $349 price.

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In addition to things like ECG monitoring technology and blood oxygen supervision, the Pixel Watch 2 is today tipped to "borrow" the state-of-the-art cEDA (continuous electrodermal activity) sensor and skin temperature tracker from the cheaper Fitbit Sense 2, which is technically made by Google as well.

A temperature sensor in particular makes sense (no pun intended) for a companion device to the ultra-high-end Pixel 8 Pro handset, which was recently revealed to support a similar feature. Let's hope at least one of these Google products will be able to actually deliver reliable, accurate, and well, transparent body temperature readings to a user's wrist or pocket.

Unfortunately, that's the full extent of what we "know" about the second-gen Pixel Watch, which we sure hope will not become more expensive than its forerunner as a consequence of these admittedly important upgrades and added capabilities.

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