‘Google Pixel Watch App’ Coming Soon, With ‘Smart Unlock’

‘Google Pixel Watch App’ Coming Soon, With ‘Smart Unlock’

It looks like this fall’s Google Pixel Watch will get a dedicated app, as teased by a new “Smart Unlock” settings page.

About APK Insight: In this “APK Insight” post, we have decompiled the latest version of an application that Google uploaded to the Play Store. When we decompile these files (called APKs, in the case of Android apps), we can see various lines of code hinting at possible future features. Keep in mind that Google may or may not ship these features, and our interpretation of what they are may be imperfect. We will try to activate the ones that are closer to completion, to show you what they will look like in case they ship. With that in mind, read on.

Back in January, Google announced that Wear OS 3 devices would soon be able to unlock your Android phone/tablet or Chromebook. The feature is set to be a big improvement on Android’s classic “Smart Lock” in terms of security and also likely speed. By specifically calling out that this would only work with “eligible Wear OS 3 devices,” Google made it likely that this revamped unlocking feature would debut on the (then-unannounced) Pixel Watch.

Inside the latest update to the Google Play Services beta, version 22.22, we apparently have our confirmation of that. We were able to force-enable a new “Smart Unlock” settings page, which describes automatically unlocking your Android phone as long as the watch is “unlocked, on your wrist, and close to your phone.”

More importantly, some text at the bottom of the page explicitly mentions the need to set up the watch with the “Google Pixel Watch app.”

To set up your watch for Smart Unlock, connect it to your phone with the Google Pixel Watch app. The watch and phone must be connected to use Smart Unlock.

From this, it becomes clear that the Google Pixel Watch will not use the same companion app that most other Wear OS watches use. Instead, like the Galaxy Watch 4, it will use its own separate app. In some ways, this matches how the Google Pixel Buds use a dedicated app instead of Android’s built-in audio options.

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That said, it’s not yet clear in what ways the Google Pixel Watch app will differ to justify not using the Wear OS app. If nothing else, such a Google Pixel Watch app should provide a much-needed Material You interface as opposed to the dated design of the Wear OS app.

Thanks to the JEB Decompiler, which some APK Insight teardowns take advantage of.

Dylan Roussel contributed to this article.

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