October 29, 2013
Google Prepares To Launch Their Own Smartwatch
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
Google is said to be in talks with Asian manufacturers to begin producing their version of the smartwatch. The yet-to-be-named device will run Android, Google’s mobile operating system, and is expected to be tightly integrated with Google Now, the digital personal assistant. Rumors of a Google smartwatch have been persistent for several months following even longer-held rumors Apple plans to develop a watch of their own as well.
Google’s largest partner, Samsung, unveiled their smartwatch in September with basic features expected to be common on future iterations of the device. Called the Galaxy Gear, Samsung’s smartwatch only works with a few devices at present and, according to a report from Geek.com, has seen high return rates at Best Buy retail stores.
Today’s Wall Street Journal report about Google’s plans doesn’t offer much detail about the features of their alleged smartwatch aside from basic functionalities, such as communicating with a smartphone, reading and responding to messages, scheduling appointments and placing phone calls. According to an inside source, the Google smartwatch could ship within a few months, meaning, however, that they will likely miss the important holiday sales quarter.
The WSJ also mentions Google is working to reduce battery consumption so the watch won’t have to be charged so frequently. By comparison, Samsung’s Galaxy Gear needs to be charged every night.
Though only a few of these devices exist on the market — the majority of them from smaller firms — market analysts are bullish about this upcoming line of new products. According to analysts from ABI Research, 485 million smartwatches, smartgoggles and the like could be sold by 2018. Google could have a head start on this number as they are already poised to sell Glass, their own smartgoggles, in the next few months. In the lead up to the release, Google just announced they would let their Glass Explorers invite three friends each to try out the device.
An earlier rumor also claimed the Google watch was almost ready, saying the Android maker could announce the device as early as October 31. According to 9to5Google’s Seth Weintraub, the Google watch is codenamed "Gem" and will work essentially as a wearable Google Now. This means the Gem could give the wearer directions home, an estimated travel time back home, and calendar and email alerts.
While Google may soon be ready to announce their smartwatch, Apple’s plans remain fuzzy at best. Today, a new rumor surfaced from The Korea Herald claiming LG is close to sealing a deal with the Cupertino company and could soon begin manufacturing the curved display used in what’s been so far called the iWatch.
"LG Display has been in talks over flexible organic light-emitting diode panels for quite a while and it looks like it will be sealing the deal with Apple," said the source who spoke with The Korea Herald.