Google Eyes Android Smartwatch

Google Android model would compete with Apple, Samsung smartwatches reportedly in the works.

Thomas Claburn, Editor at Large, Enterprise Mobility

March 22, 2013

2 Min Read

Apple iWatch Vs. Smartwatches Past And Present

Apple iWatch Vs. Smartwatches Past And Present

Apple iWatch Vs. Smartwatches Past And Present(click image for larger view and for slideshow)

Google is the latest technology company believed to be developing an Internet-enabled watch.

According to a report published in the Financial Times, Google's "smartwatch" is being developed in the company's Android unit rather than in X Lab, where the company's other wearable product, Product Glass, originated.

Google declined to comment.

In support of its anonymous source, the Financial Times points to a Google patent, "Smart-watch including flip up display," that was granted last fall.

Although patents do not all turn into products, the two inventors listed, Richard Gossweiler and Jim Miller, are accomplished technologists with the experience and skills to develop a smartwatch.

[ Is Google moving to combine its two mobile operating systems? Read Android, Chrome OS Marriage Denied. ]

In a report published in January, "Fitness Wearables -- Many Products, Few Customers," Forrester analyst Sarah Rotman Epps predicted Google will release a smartwatch soon. "We expect the developer release of Glass in 2013 to catalyze excitement [about wearable computing] and experimentation from app developers, and we expect Google to release its own version of an Android-based smartwatch in the near future," she wrote.

Microsoft used to have a smartwatch called SPOT. It discontinued the device in 2008.

Nevertheless, earlier this week, a Samsung executive told Bloomberg that Samsung is working on a watch, presumably an Internet-connected one. The company also has several watch-related patents.

Last month, The Wall Street Journal and the New York Times reported that Apple has a substantial team of engineers and designers readying a smartwatch. A similar claim had surfaced on a Chinese blog last year.

More smartwatches might be coming: According to the Korea Times, electronics maker LG is also developing a smartwatch, presumably an improvement upon its existing watch-phone product.

If these rumored smartwatches appear as predicted, they will join an already crowded market. There's the Pebble, the Sony SmartWatch, i'm Watch, WearIt, Metawatch, Cookoo Watch, Martian Watch and assorted watch-like sports devices, such as Leikr.

What will these watches do? Expect them to do what mobile phones do, but with a different interface. They're likely to provide some subset of the following services: notifications and alerts, email, activity monitoring, location monitoring, health monitoring, apps, reminders, telephony, SMS, audio recording, image capturing, electronic purchase authorization and two-factor authentication.

These watches presumably also will tell time.

About the Author(s)

Thomas Claburn

Editor at Large, Enterprise Mobility

Thomas Claburn has been writing about business and technology since 1996, for publications such as New Architect, PC Computing, InformationWeek, Salon, Wired, and Ziff Davis Smart Business. Before that, he worked in film and television, having earned a not particularly useful master's degree in film production. He wrote the original treatment for 3DO's Killing Time, a short story that appeared in On Spec, and the screenplay for an independent film called The Hanged Man, which he would later direct. He's the author of a science fiction novel, Reflecting Fires, and a sadly neglected blog, Lot 49. His iPhone game, Blocfall, is available through the iTunes App Store. His wife is a talented jazz singer; he does not sing, which is for the best.

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