Wearables Like Google’s Pixel Watch Should Embrace Fashion and Style

They don’t all need to look like the Apple Watch

  • Google has finally made its own smartwatch.
  • The Pixel Watch offers the same fitness-first concept as all smart watches. 
  • At least it’s round, not square.
Google Pixel Watch


Looks-wise, Google's new Pixel Watch offers a fresh take on Apple's class-leading Apple Watch, but under the hood, it offers the same old things. 

The most obvious difference between the Apple Watch and Google's new Pixel Watch is the shape. Google's is round, but it's also very similar. Google copies Apple's digital crown; pressing the side button brings up a list of recent apps; the watch is laser-focussed on fitness. This is good news for Android users who want a Pixel version of the Apple Watch, but not so great for people who want a different take on the wearable computer. 

"There's a lot of room for creativity here," technology writer James Calderon told Lifewire via email. "Smartwatches could be made in all sorts of shapes and sizes, with all sorts of different materials. They could be made to look more like traditional watches or more like jewelry."


When Apple launched the Apple Watch, it wasn't obvious that it would evolve into the fitness and notification-focused device we know today. It had a weird feature that let you send your heartbeat to a loved one, and Apple pushed the walkie-talkie app, which today everyone seems to have forgotten about. The watch was a lot more like the iPhone in intent, a general-purpose computer, only mounted on your wrist. 

As the years passed, the watch has developed a clearer purpose and is all the better for it. While it still does the walkie-talkie thing, today's Apple Watch is primarily a health and fitness tracker, a place to see notifications, and a conduit to add reminders and check facts via Siri. 


So important is the fitness aspect that Apple's brand-new Apple Watch Ultra pushes it to the extreme, with extra sensors, buttons, a bigger screen and battery, and features designed for sports and outdoor activities. 

Google might have taken a while to make a smartwatch—the Pixel Watch is its first crack at the category—but it already knows its purpose right out of the gate. 

In an interview with The Verge, Google's SVP of hardware Rick Osterloh says that Google has wanted to make a watch for years but couldn't do so until it had a "killer" health and fitness platform. Instead of spending years building such a platform, it sat around and eventually bought one. The Pixel watch is built around Fitbit and should be "killer," as Osterloh says, as long as you trust Google with your private, sensitive health data. 


If you want to buy a smartwatch, you're purchasing a fitness-tracking Apple Watch or an Apple Watch-inspired device for Android. If you want a smartphone, you're looking at a glass-fronted slab with a bank of cameras around back. And if you want a portable computer, then your only choice is the clamshell laptop design first used by Apple in its PowerBook.

Yes, all our modern computing devices are in forms invented by, or first popularized by, Apple. And while they're great designs, they are not the inevitable endgame of computer design. Before the iPhone, we had folding phones with keyboards, tiny palm-sized laptops, and more. Watches still come with all kinds of buttons and knobs and have basic LCD screens instead of computer-y displays. 

And while the iPhone's all-screen design seems good enough for most uses, watches could do with a bit more variety. They are, after all, the only computers we wear. At the very least, we might enjoy more variety than just being able to pick a shade of gray or change straps. 

"Watches should maintain the variety they currently have," London jeweler Danny Buck told Lifewire via email. "Google's Pixel Watch has its own style that's different from its competitors. I'd even go as far as to say tech companies should begin collaborating with high-end and luxury brands to further develop their styles. Because at the end of the day, these smartwatches are more than gadgets; they're accessory pieces as well."

Even if you don't "do" fashion, choosing not to wear something is as much a personal style choice as choosing to wear something else. Fashion is the politics of personal expression, and buying the cheapest jeans and work boots from Amazon is no less an expression of your style than dressing head-to-toe in Balenciaga and Y-3. That's why it's important for gadgets to better fit what we want in terms of aesthetics and functionality.

Sadly, we're still stuck choosing between different straps.

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