Google Pixel needs more cases and watch bands this year – 9to5Google

Accessories are an important part of any tech purchase, and it’s an area where Google Pixel has been lacking. I really hope to see a push from Google’s third-party partners this year for more Pixel phone cases and Pixel Watch bands.

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Smartphone cases are pretty widely used among buyers, but choices on Google Pixel have always been rather limited. It’s not a problem that just Google has, as if you’re not using an iPhone or Samsung Galaxy device, there are probably a lot of accessories that just aren’t available to your device.

In the early years of Pixel, this was an expected problem, and Google thankfully had good enough first-party cases to where that was never really a problem. But as the “Made for Google” program grew, Google’s own cases quickly started to fall off, with the past three generations of official Pixel cases being pretty awful, leading to third-party options being more attractive. In a poll we ran this week, 9to5Google readers overwhelmingly said they used third-party cases, mostly from the Made for Google program.

But the problem there lies in that, while there are quite a lot of case options, Google Pixel phones often lack the “best” these brands have to offer. For example, Bellroy has been a Made for Google partner for years, but you’ll only find the brand offering leather cases for Pixel and not the wallet cases it offers for iPhone. Otterbox only offers a handful of its Defender and Symmetry cases for Pixel 8 Pro, whereas there are tons more options for Galaxy S24 Ultra and iPhone 15 Pro. Even Spigen, a community favorite, has cases like Optik Armor and Cryo Armor (the one that survived falling out of a plane) that aren’t available to Pixel owners.

Google has partnerships with all of these brands, and I just wish the company would push harder for deeper accessory support.

The bigger problem, I’d argue, is with watch bands on the Pixel Watch series.

There, first-party bands are virtually the only option. There are cheap third-party bands on Amazon (which usually aren’t a great experience) and there have been decent third-party options on the market in the past, but it’s a very barren landscape.

Google has a reasonably healthy collection of watch bands for its smartwatch. There are sporty silicone/fluoroelastomer bands, classy leather and metal bands, and even some fabric offerings too. But when you step outside of Google’s (often pricey) options, there’s not a whole lot out there.

A look through Amazon, for instance, reveals quite a lot of super-cheap bands that have plastic connectors and fabric or silicone designs. There are very few, if any, “premium” third-party bands out there.

Again, Google has the partnerships to fix this.

So many accessory brands make Apple Watch bands, but none of them make Pixel Watch bands! It might cost Google to put out some incentive for these to be made, but if the company wants the Pixel Watch to succeed, it needs to ensure customers have this added choice. The single drop of additional watch bands we’ve seen thus far (alongside Pixel Watch 2’s launch) simply isn’t enough.

Also, it will be super important this year for Google to really cement how bands will work with the larger Pixel Watch 3. I’m personally not super hopeful that existing bands will fit a larger casing, but I’d love to be proved wrong. Google can’t give up on its connection method, but I’d be shocked if nothing changed.

What do you think? Are there enough cases and watch bands for Google Pixel? What’s one type or brand you’d like to see arrive this year? Let’s discuss!

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