Google has confirmed that it is not planning on launching a smartwatch this year, telling Tom's Guide that the company simply isn't there yet and will focus on upgrades to Wear OS for the time being.
According to Tom's Guide, multiple Google employees confirmed that there won't be a Pixel Watch (or "Google Coach," depending on which reports one believes) announced at IFA 2018 or later this year:
Miles Barr, Google's director of engineering for Wear OS, said Friday during an interview that Google has no plans to release a smartwatch this year.
"To think of a one-size-fits-all watch, I don't think we're there yet," Barr said. "Our focus is on our partners for now."
Following our interview, we reached out to Google and a PR representative confirmed that the company would not be releasing a watch of its own this year.
As the Verge noted, there's been rampant speculation as well as leaks in the news this year about how close Google is to releasing a smartwatch. Barr told Tom's Guide that they're still observing the market to see how they can design a watch that doesn't narrowly apply to one niche, such as fitness enthusiasts, to the exclusion of others.
In the meantime, improvements to Wear OS have included performance enhancements to ease the pain of outdated smartwatch processors (Qualcomm may soon finally introduce its first new smartwatch chip in two years) and an Android-style doze mode to optimise battery life. In other words, Google appears to be slowly working through its long backlog of smartwatch problems before it goes anywhere near a product launch.
In the long run, Barr added, Google hopes to launch a watch that leverages the company's voice assistant.
"Our Google Pixel line of phones is the best experience and Google's take on it, so I imagine we would focus heavily on the [Google] Assistant to integrate AI and machine learning into the device, which is Google's forte," Barr told the site.
While a Google smartwatch won't be coming this year, the company is reportedly planning on launching Pixel 3 phones in early October, according to Bloomberg. Lots of details about that phone have supposedly already leaked.