Pixel Notepad & Pixel Watch: New default for Android users avoiding iPad, Galaxy Z Fold, Apple Watch

This article may contain personal views and opinion from the author.
Pixel Notepad & Pixel Watch: New default for Android users avoiding iPad, Galaxy Z Fold, Apple Watch
If two years ago I told you Google would launch a bunch of devices meant to rival Apple's (almost) entire catalog of wildly successful products, you'd laugh it off. I would've too. But despite a buggy launch, the Google Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro were the start of something more than a flagship Android comeback.

Sundar Pichai & Co already sell a very smart pair of Pixel Buds, which are meant to compete with the AirPods and Galaxy Buds of the world, and while Chromebooks aren't exactly a match for Apple's MacBook, they work just fine for less demanding tasks and, respectively, users.

Furthermore, unlike Apple's, Google's existing hardware ecosystem stretches far beyond wearables and computers. For example, Google will also sell you:

  • Chromecast for turning any TV into a smart TV with access to apps like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Spotify, etc.
  • Nest Audio and Nest Mini for those who want a smart speaker, which can take notes, set timers, tell the weather, etc.
  • And a bunch of other home-oriented devices such as the Nest Thermostat (which I've used, and it's wonderful), Nest Cam, Nest Doorbell, etc.

But! For those who've always wanted a little bit more of that Google flavor, it's now expected that the company is looking to expand its product portfolio by adding two very important devices that many of us, tech enthusiasts, have been expecting for a while. So, let's talk about them!

Google Pixel Watch: The new default Apple Watch alternative for Android users?

Although companies like Samsung, Huawei, and Fitbit (now part of Google) have been dominating the Android smartwatch scene for a while, it never felt like any of them was "the default Android smartwatch-maker".

Recommended Stories
But things are finally starting to take shape when it comes to Google's long-anticipated Pixel Watch, which might turn out to be exactly that "new default" we've wanted for a while.

Here are some Google Pixel Watch details, based on leaks, rumors, and code-digging (by 9to5Google):

  • A round shape (with round watch faces)
  • A Samsung-made Exynos W920 chip (same as Galaxy Watch 4), or a variation, which might be marketed as Tensor
  • Wear OS 3.0
  • Colors: Gray, Black, Gold
  • $300-400 starting price

But specs aside, if that's Google's watch, it only makes sense that the company will take advantage of all the powerful software features, some of which have made the Pixel 6 the smartest phone in the world.

Leaks and rumors are pointing towards a dedicated Google Assistant button for the "next-gen Assistant". What this means is that Google Assistant will be able to perform tasks directly on the watch instead of reaching out to Google's servers for help, which will make performing requests much faster. That's been available on Google devices since the Pixel 4 series, so it'd be a logical step for the Pixel Watch.

It's exactly Google's powerful software wizardry that might take the Pixel Watch to a whole new level, compared to the competition from Samsung, Apple, etc. Moreover, having native support for some of Google's apps, such as Google Maps and the Play Store, should guarantee the smoothest Google experience out there when it comes to applications, which historically has been a challenge for smartwatches that don't come out of Cupertino.

As an added extra, we've now seen Google-filed patents for a set of interesting touch controls that might let you control some Pixel Watch functions by tapping the area on your wrist close to the watch instead of touching it.

If that seems strange, bear in mind that this kind of tech already exists. Sony's new LinkBuds feature touch sensors that let you control your music by tapping the muscles around your ears instead of the earbuds themselves.

Google Pixel Notepad: The new default Galaxy Z Fold and iPad mini alternative for Android users?

Of course, the other long-rumored piece of Google's new ecosystem is the foldable Google Pixel. According to sources, the company's first device of this kind has gone through some turbulence during development, and reportedly, production was halted at some point.

Now, thanks to information from evergreen leaksters Jon Prosser and Ross Young, we know that the Google Pixel Notepad project is back on track. Hurray! So far, we know that the Pixel Notepad (that's the actual rumored name), should:

  • Start at around $1,399, which would give it a massive advantage compared to the Galaxy Z Fold 4, if the price of the latter stays unchanged ($1,799)
  • Come with a set of smaller displays, reminiscent of the Oppo Find N, rather than Samsung, Honor, or Huawei's bigger foldables
  • Feature the Pixel 5's primary camera sensor, and the Pixel 6's ultra-wide-angle camera
  • Be powered by Google's 1st or 2nd-gen Tensor chip, depending on when it's released

Make no mistake, the main focus here should be on that price. The Pixel Notepad might end up being at least $400 cheaper than competing foldable devices from Samsung, while at the same time being much more available than those from Oppo, Honor, and Huawei (although most likely not as widely available as Samsung's).

But also, Google's expertise and push for improving the software for devices with larger screens via Android 12L might give the Pixel Notepad a serious leg-up. Also, if it launches alongside the Pixel 7 series, it's likely that the Notepad will feature Google's second-gen Tensor chip, which undoubtedly will bring further improvements to Google's already incredibly intelligent Android 12. Of course, the great camera as well as fastest and most frequent Android updates will also be guaranteed, thanks to… Google.

In the end: Google's ecosystem is shaping up to be truly exciting

Pixel Watch

It's safe to say the Apple Watch has been the best smartwatch in the world for a while now. This is thanks to Cupertino's incredible ecosystem integration, which gives Apple users a seamless experience of jumping between iPhone - iPad - Apple Watch apps and tasks.

Apple's hardware isn't easy to rival either - the Apple Watch 7 comes with some of the thinnest bezels on a smartwatch we've ever seen, and of course, looks… expensive because it is. It's not a coincidence that Tim Cook & Co have been the absolute dominant force when it comes to smartwatch sales, holding over 30% of the smartwatch market worldwide.

Of course, if you're using an Android phone, something like a Galaxy Watch 4 or Huawei Watch 3 should still be a better fit for you. Or a Fitbit, which by the way, isn't an independent smartwatch brand anymore, after Google acquired it in early 2021.

It was exactly after purchasing Fitbit a year ago when Google vouched to start paying more attention to wearables. The company fused its Wear OS with Samsung's Tizen OS for the Galaxy Watch 4, which has received good reviews but never felt like the Google Watch some might've been waiting for. More about that in our Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Review.

But now, all of this might change thanks to the Pixel Watch, which is expected to receive a tight integration with Google's phones but also be more open to other devices. Of course, if Google's goal is indeed to make it the default Android smartwatch.

Pixel Notepad

Still, the most interesting and innovative device from the bunch remains the Google Pixel Notepad. This one isn't going to be a traditional tablet or a phone, but both, which might make it the perfect choice for those who like the idea of a Galaxy Z Fold 3 but don't side with Samsung's software or questionable hardware decisions, as far as the Fold is concerned.

At the same time, I see the Google Pixel Notepad (and other foldables, of course) easily replacing something like an iPad mini 6, which comes with an only slightly larger display than most foldables. Of course, that's if you aren't already knee-deep into Apple's own ecosystem. It's quicksand.

Speaking of Apple's ecosystem, it's relevant to highlight (again) that the most important factor when it comes to Google's uprising Pixel network of devices will probably be compatibility or openness if you will.

Apple is known to lock users inside its "walled garden", to make sure Apple products perform best when paired with other Apple products. While I don't see Google following Cupertino's example, I do believe the Pixel Watch will work best when paired with a Pixel phone. However, a more open Android device integration, specially compared to Apple, is almost guaranteed and will be welcomed.

The latest rumors coming from Front Page Tech's Jon Prosser say the Google Pixel Watch is on schedule for the rumored May 26 release, which was also when the midrange Google Pixel 6A was supposed to show up. However, Prosser claims the Pixel 6A has now been delayed until late July, meaning the Google Pixel Watch launch might need to be moved too.

As far as the Google Pixel Notepad is concerned, it's now almost certain this one will be announced alongside the Google Pixel 7 series in October, or if not, sometime in Q4 2022.

I can't wait! What about you?

Recommended Stories

Loading Comments...
FCC OKs Cingular\'s purchase of AT&T Wireless