Speculation that Google was going to release a Pixel Watch reached a fever pitch last year, as the company’s Wear OS platform for wearables was in clear need of a flagship device to rival the popular Apple Watch and Samsung Galaxy Watch. Now Google appears to be hiring people to actually design the device.
A recent Google job listing for a Vice President of Hardware Engineering, Wearables (first spotted by Android Police) makes clear that Google is looking for someone to lead development of an “entire Wearables portfolio,” including “devices addressing a broad spectrum of uses, features, and price points.” The company is also hiring a design manager for consumer wearables to work with other Google design leads in creating “forward looking, iconic products that delight our consumers.”
Currently, Google’s only consumer wearables hardware product is Pixel Buds, a pair of wireless earphones that arrived to mixed but somewhat positive reviews. The company sells one enterprise-class wearable, Google Glass Enterprise Edition, but doesn’t make watch hardware. Instead, wearables based on Wear OS are designed and sold by other companies, much like Android phones before Google’s own flagship Nexus and Pixel devices arrived.
Implicit in the job listings is that Google isn’t even close to releasing a Pixel Watch anytime soon, and is now planning to build its own consumer wearables team rather than acquiring another company or rebranding devices made by someone else. Historically, Google partnered with companies including HTC, LG, Motorola, and Samsung to make Nexus and Pixel phones, but over time became increasingly involved in the engineering and design of the products it sells.
Just last month, Google acquired limited and unspecified smartwatch assets from watch maker Fossil, leading to some speculation that Google was buying an entire watch development team. But Fossil underscored that it was remaining in the smartwatch business and holding onto a 200-person R&D team, which had successfully launched watches across 14 company-owned brands.
The open positions appear to be based in Mountain View, California at Google’s headquarters, and seek applicants with at least 15 years of development experience, with the VP ideally having delivered “products that ship in the hundreds of millions of units” across the world. With such a high bar for hiring, the pool of ideal candidates will be fairly limited, potentially stretching the earliest debut date for a Pixel Watch out to 2020 or later.