Google's Pixel Watch is slated to handle Smart Unlock using its own companion app rather than that of Wear OS 3
Google often saves the most interesting new Android features for its Pixel phones on their launch. Now, it seems it will do the same to Wear OS in the first-gen Pixel Watch. An early indication of this possibility is allegedly found in code found in a preview version of the Play Services app.
9to5Google claims to have found evidence of this proprietary solution in its latest instalment of its APK Insight series, wherein the blog tears the latest betas from the Mountain View giant down for hints of new features in the resulting code. This session has reportedly unearthed a new setting for the upcoming Smart Unlock facility.
This effective opposite of Android's Smart Lock is rated to automatically unlock a user's phone - or possibly their Chromebook or tablet as well - when an authorized smartwatch is detected in its vicinity. It is confirmed to become available as Wear OS 3 rolls out to more of its supported devices - however, it seems the Pixel Watch will support it a little differently.
This is because Google has apparently designed a specific companion app for its first-gen wearable, rather than use the generic counterpart for nearly every other Wear OS device. It is reportedly overtly referred to as such in 9to5Google's freshly-uncovered Smart Unlock UI.
To date, it is not clear why the OEM may have done this, or if there are exclusive advantages implied in its use, although should that be the case, it might be part of a plan to entice existing Pixel users to buy a matching smartwatch rather than one of a competing brand.