March 22, 2013 report
"Is that a smartwatch you're not wearing?" Google's may actually appear
Want to play smartwatch? That's the game where you pretend to buy a big-vendor smartwatch that doesn't exist but everyone talks about nonetheless. There is the Samsung smartwatch rumor mill, the Apple smartwatch rumor mill, and, as of this week, a burning-up Google rumor mill. The Google talk was sparked by Financial Times blogger, Tim Bradshaw, this week. In his blog titled "Google is working on a smartwatch, too" he said according to "a person briefed on the project" that Google's smart watch is being developed by its Android unit, and the watch will "act as an extension to the smartphones using that operating system."
There is no word of a date when it might launch but there are clues that Bradshaw might be writing about more than extra ingredients for the Samsung-Apple-Google rumor mill.
Since the project is attributed to the Android unit and not the X Lab, the project might be earmarked for launch rather than multi-phased explorations that may or may not surface any time soon. The Google X Lab hatches technologies for the future such as the much-publicized self-driving cars and glasses. Another clue lies in the date October 2011, when Google filed a patent for a "Smart-watch including flip up display." The filing described a smart-watch that can include a wristband, a base, a flip up portion, and a camera.
The patent described the camera as one that can be in communication with the processor and the flip up portion can form a viewfinder for the camera when in the open position and be configured to display information regarding an image within the viewfinder.
A popular view about a likely Google smartwatch is that wearable computing in and of itself is considered as an inevitable sign of the future, which makes the watch undertaking all the more plausible. Moving information away from the confines of desks and PC screens, the mobile computing labs outside Google are busy tinkering with wearable devices that operate in the physical world.
While talking sneakers and Google glass already grab attention as what-ifs, they might be less amenable to immediate and easy uptake than would wearable watches. Should Samsung and Apple rush out smartwatches, Google would be left in the dust. As the Financial Times blog noted, smart watches, whether by Apple, Samsung, or Google, would jumpstart the wearables market.
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