According to a report by Business Insider, Google’s plans for a self-branded wearable were axed at the last minute back in 2016. Following those early leaks, then-new hardware VP Rick Osterloh decided that the experience didn’t meet the company’s new “Pixel” standards, and the products were dropped from that fall’s event and product lineup. What was left was allegedly salvaged into the LG Watch Sport and Style.
According to the report, Google had yet to settle on a name for the pair of watches before the last-minute cancellation, though the company had gotten as far product photoshoots. Initially, it was going to be called the “Google Watch” before the hardware reorganization efforts first started, which could have seen it pick up the Pixel branding.
A former employee who worked on the project explained that Osterloh wasn’t pleased with either the physical design or how the watches worked, telling Business Insider that “it didn’t look like what belonged in the Pixel family. We didn’t want a peripheral product to bring down the name of the Google hardware brand.”
The cancellation was tied to the company’s general hardware cutbacks, following Rick Osterloh’s new role as VP of hardware, and happened alongside other cancellations including the modular Project Ara phones and some unannounced Google Glass partnerships.
With Wear OS’ market share representing a rounding error compared to Samsung and Apple, and Google’s own first-party services abandoning the platform, something needs to be done about Google’s wearable vision. Hopefully, that $40 million Fossil acquisition pans out soon.