In this week’s top stories: Fitbit launches monitoring for irregular heart rhythms on select trackers, Pixel Watch appears to borrow its fitness sensor from Fitbit, Nothing shows off its Android launcher, and more.
In health news this week, a variety of Fitbit trackers gained the ability to more closely monitor heart rhythms and alert you if you experience AFib, a common form of irregular heart rhythm. Fitbit’s Irregular Heart Rhythm tracking is rolling out now to nine different wearables, dating back a few years.
Irregular Heart Rhythm Notifications are what Fitbit has decided to call notifications that alert users of a potential heart problem. AFib is the most common form of irregular heart rhythm, affecting more than 5 million people in the United States alone according to John Hopkins Medicine, and Fitbit says over 33 million are affected globally. AFib is a serious condition that leaves those affected at five times higher risk of a stroke, according to Fitbit.
In other Fitbit related news, upon closer inspection of Pixel Watch leaks, we find that it seems to use the same health sensor suite as recent Fitbit trackers. This includes oxygen saturation & temperature sensors, and the potential for electrocardiogram reading.
If Google is indeed reusing a Fitbit sensor for the Pixel Watch, that could result in cost-savings as the Fitbit Luxe is $129 and the Charge 5 $149. That’d make for a nice synergy from the 2021 acquisition, and could suggest that development on the Pixel Watch was very much still active last January when the deal closed.
For the last few weeks, Carl Pei’s Nothing has been teasing its upcoming Android phone. The latest teaser comes in the form of a free Android launcher, offering a small taste of what it may be like to use the Nothing phone(1), though it’s only available for newer Galaxy and Pixel phones.
Nothing has a series of unique wallpapers, weather and clock widgets, alongside ringtones to coincide with this new Android launcher. Sadly, there does not appear to be support for the Google Discover feed – something that is becoming more commonplace on various OEM skins of Android.
Google’s Pixel Watch moved a step closer to release this week, as three models of the wearable got approval from the Bluetooth Special Interest Group. The listing includes a few interesting clues about the long-awaited wearable, including a bit about the version of Wear OS it may launch with.
Given the current lack of hard evidence, all we can do is speculate what’s different between these three models. Our leading theory is that, rather than there being multiple models side-by-side in stores, Google may offer a different model in different regions of the world, due to the varying cellular bands needed. This has been common practice for Google’s Pixel phones in recent years, and it would make sense for the Pixel Watch to follow suit.
In other Pixel Watch news, sources have told us that the wearable should have cellular connectivity, paired with a 300mAh battery. This puts Google’s wearable in roughly the same league as the Galaxy Watch 4 and Fossil’s Gen 6 series, which may allow it to have somewhere between 24 and 48 hours of battery life.
It remains to be seen what Google’s official guidance will be or if Wear OS is seeing any additional optimizations to maximize longevity. Another important spec that remains unknown is how fast the Pixel Watch can be charged, in terms of letting users quickly top-up in a pinch. If the watch uses a form of Qi charging, as Samsung and Apple do, it seems reasonable to expect comparable speeds.
The rest of this week’s top stories follow:
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