Top Stories: Fitbit AFib, Pixel Watch fitness tracker, more

In this week’s top stories: Fitbit is rolling out irregular heartbeat monitoring on select trackers, Pixel Watch appears to be borrowing its fitness sensor from Fitbit, Nothing is showing off its Android launcher, and more.

In health news this week, a variety of Fitbit trackers have gained the ability to monitor heart rhythms more closely and alert you if you have AFib, a common form of irregular heartbeat. Fitbit’s irregular heartbeat tracker is now rolling out to nine different wearables, dating back a few years.

Irregular heartbeat notifications are what Fitbit decided to call notifications that alert users to a potential heart problem. Atrial fibrillation is the most common form of irregular heartbeat, affecting more than 5 million people in the United States alone according to John Hopkins Medicine, and Fitbit says more than 33 million people are affected worldwide. Atrial fibrillation is a serious condition that puts those affected at a five times higher risk of stroke, according to Fitbit.

In other Fitbit-related news, upon closer inspection of Pixel Watch leaks, we find that it appears to use the same suite of health sensors as recent Fitbit trackers. This includes oxygen saturation and temperature sensors, and electrocardiogram reading potential.

If Google does repurpose a Fitbit sensor for the Pixel Watch, that could lead to cost savings as the Fitbit Luxe costs $129 and the Charge 5 costs $149. This would create a nice synergy from the 2021 acquisition and could suggest Pixel Watch development was still active last January when the deal was struck.

For the past few weeks, Nothing by Carl Pei has been teasing its next Android phone. The latest teaser comes in the form of a free Android launcher, offering a small taste of what it can be like to use the Nothing(1) phone, although it’s only available for the new Galaxy and Pixel phones. .

Nothing has a series of unique wallpapers, weather and clock widgets, and ringtones to coincide with this new Android launcher. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be support for the Google Discover feed – something that’s becoming increasingly common on various OEM skins of Android.

Google’s Pixel Watch edged closer to release this week, as three wearable models gained approval from the Bluetooth special interest group. The list includes some interesting clues about the long-awaited wearable, including a bit about which version of Wear OS it might launch with.

Given the current lack of hard evidence, all we can do is speculate what’s different between these three models. Our main theory is that rather than having multiple models side-by-side in stores, Google may offer a different model in different parts of the world, due to the different cellular bands needed. This has been common practice for Google’s Pixel phones for the past few years, and it would make sense for the Pixel Watch to follow suit.

In other Pixel Watch news, sources told us the wearable is expected to have cellular connectivity, paired with a 300mAh battery. That puts Google’s wearable in roughly the same league as the Galaxy Watch 4 and Fossil’s Gen 6 series, which can give it between 24 and 48 hours of battery life.

It remains to be seen what official Google guidelines will be or if Wear OS sees further optimizations to maximize longevity. Another important specification that remains unknown is the speed at which the Pixel Watch can be charged, in terms of allowing users to quickly recharge in the blink of an eye. If the watch uses some 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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