The second Pixel Watch is expected to launch in early October, and like all Pixel hardware, it represents Google’s vision of what it believes an Android device can be. But the Pixel Watch 2 may not be the best implementation possible for a wearable because the new short-range standard of Ultra Wideband is missing.
UWB provides several benefits over Bluetooth, including data transfers for synchronising files, is less susceptible to interference, and offers more accurate relative positioning data for “Find My Device” styled networks. The technology arrived on smartphones in 2019 with the iPhone 11 family, promptly followed by Samsung’s Galaxy Note 20, Galaxy S21 Plus, and Ultra handsets.
It features on Google’s Pixel Tablet, Pixel Fold, and the Pro versions of the Pixel smartphones. It was expected to be part of the Pixel Watch 2, but the current wave of regulatory filings do not list UWB.
Perhaps Google is restricting the short-range technology to higher specced smartwatches? Singapore’s IMDA only lists a Wi-Fi-enabled model of the wearable, while other authorities have listed a 4G/LTE model. Could it be an LTE-only option? This is unlikely, as the FCC is one of the latter, and UWB technology is not listed for any of the models.
Maybe the UWB software is not ready and could be turned on at a later date via a software update? This can be discounted, at least for the listed models. Even if UWB were an undocumented hardware feature, it would still need to be listed with the FCC as it goes on sale.
Or there could be production issues and a UWB model will arrive in the months after the base model’s product launch and retail release. After all, you don’t need the FCC to add a bullet point to your presentation.
Occam’s razor suggests a much more straightforward answer. Contrary to expectations earlier in the year, according to the current certification, UWB will not feature in Google’s upcoming wearable. I do not doubt that UWB was tested in pre-production designs, but for whatever reason, it has not made the final cut.
That leaves the Pixel 6 Pro, 7 Pro, Fold, and Tablet as Google’s UWB flag-bearers.
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