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(Pocket-lint) - A recently approved patent reveals Google has been working on several quick release watch band mechanisms, which could - if it ever launches - make the Pixel Watch strap really simple to swap out. 

In these patent images, Google imagines a few different options. The first is sticking with watch pins that fit standard/traditional watches, but placing a larger quick release button on the strap itself. This slides downwards to release the pins. 

The second and third mechanisms look completely different, and more complex. 

Instead of traditional-style pins with a new mechanism for releasing them, the second (5A in the image) features a clasp built on to the strap that opens and closes using a simple push button, and presumably grabs onto a slim bar in the casing. 

The third seems to indicate small magnets built into a catch in the watch case, that would then line up with corresponding magnets in the strap clasp. 

It's worth noting, these patents were originally filed for in 2017 and were only just recently granted. And they never guarantee that Google will actually launch the thing. 

Google Pixel Watch rumours reached something of a crescendo in summer 2018, with renowned leakers and trusted sources seemingly agreed that the watch would definitely make an appearance alongside the Pixel 3 lineup in autumn. 

As we know now, that never happened, and further news of the product has been quite sparse. 

With that said, earlier this year two code-names appeared online, via 9to5Google, indicating that Google is still working on its own watch, while further information from analysts predict that the wearable is part of Google's 2019 lineup. 

As for the straps themselves, it certainly makes sense for Google to be exploring easier methods of swapping out bands. 

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One of Apple Watch's best features is the ability to simply slide out and switch out watch straps as the mood takes you. But Apple being Apple, these are proprietary. 

In the Wear OS world, watch straps tend to come with a quick release mechanism built into the very top of the strap and - while much easier than the old-school method of using finicky tools - they're still quite fiddly to remove. 

Even if Google never releases its own smartwatch hardware under the Pixel brand, we hope its exploration of newer, more convenient release methods makes it to market somewhere. 

Writing by Cam Bunton. Originally published on 4 April 2019.