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Google’s Pixel Watch will reportedly have an Apple-esque array of bands

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Any modern smartwatch worth its salt comes with interchangeable straps. So it’s no surprise that Google is reportedly working on some strap options for its upcoming Pixel Watch. According to 9to5Googlethe company is making at least seven bands — including the one shown at the I/O keynote — for when the smartwatch launches this fall.

so far, 9to5Google reports that Google is working on a Milanese-style mesh band, two types of leather bands, a link bracelet, a cloth strap, and a silicone strap. It would also work on a stretchable option reminiscent of Apple’s Solo Loop. If it sounds like Google is pulling multiple pages out of Apple’s playbook, then it is. We still don’t know most of the specs on the Pixel Watch, but from what we do know, it’s clear that Google is trying to fight the Apple Watch. Offering similar belt options capitalizes on that strategy.

Watches – whether analog or smart – are an expression of personal style. Unless Google gives people a wide variety to choose from, the Pixel Watch won’t reach a wider audience. It would have been safest if Google had used a standard 20-22mm strap. At the very least, that would have eased the burden on Google itself and provided customers with dozens of stylish options that can also be used with mechanical or analog watches.

Is this a Pixel Watch or one of the many other smartwatches that look exactly the same? (It’s a Pixel watch)
Image: Google

However, it doesn’t. As we saw in the sizzle reel at Google I/O, it opts for its own proprietary straps. So either Google is pretty confident in the designs it’s putting out… or we’re about to see some really ugly or uninspired smartwatch bands from the folks who got you the Pixel 6 cases brought.

Smartwatch makers – including Apple – are generally talking when it comes to bands. As much as I love these gadgets, few are as attractive as their “dumb” counterparts. Fitbit’s Horween leather straps? I hesitate to name that doctrine. The ’70s called, and they like Apple’s leather link bracelet back. I don’t even want to talk about the monstrosities that are perforated smartwatch bands. Silicone straps are functional for workouts, but a little chintzy for formal occasions.

I’d say discerning Pixel Watch owners can turn to third-party accessory makers, but working with a proprietary strap isn’t guaranteed. If you search Amazon, the third-party accessories for Google products are teeming with stylish options. Probably because not many people are buying enough Pixel devices (yet) to justify the investment. If you do an Amazon search for Pixel phone cases, you’ll get about 7,000 results. Searching for an iPhone case returns over 100,000 results, while a Samsung Galaxy phone case returns over 80,000. It’s worse for devices like the Pixel Buds: 190 results to over 10,000 results for AirPods. The more options you have, the more likely customers are to find something that suits them. If there are slender strands, in the end you get: eyesore Like it this one

Ultimately, performance and Wear OS 3 will be the biggest factors in determining whether the Pixel Watch is “good”. That said, plenty of people must be thinking, “Yeah, I’m paying premium prices to get that on my wrist!” to figure that out. So it’s probably wise for Google to make sure the tires it puts out at least match those of its rivals. It just ensures that, at least visually, the Pixel Watch won’t dazzle us either.

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