It seems that Google is all about wearable computer technology these days. First we hadGoogle Glass and then a patent for Smart Gloves surfaced. Now it seems very likely that the company is moving forward with a smartwatch project.
Technology moves quickly, that much is obvious. It wasn’t too long ago that smartphones barely existed and those that did were pretty much exclusively used for those in the business world. That’s why it is no surprise to hear that Google is actively working to find the next big thing.
The latest rumor regarding Google’s entry into the smartwatch world comes from Business Insider, who says their information comes from an insider that has been briefed on Google’s plans. The source claims that right now Google is simply looking at how marketable such a device might be. This means that while their might be conceptual designs and prototypes out there, Google is far from giving us a finished product at this point.
What do we know about this smart watch project so far?
Honestly, very little outside of this latest rumor. Luckily we can probably glean a little more information from an existing patent filed with the USPTO. The previously filed patent surfaced back in October of 2012 and detailed a device that used a touchscreen and augmented reality to provide a unique wearable experience.
If Google’s watch utilizes the technology in this patent, there would be a transparent screen that is hinged to the front of the device and allows you to look at various items to find information about them. Basically, it is a bit like Project Glass in watch form.
Outside of the patent, we can also draw a few conclusions based on common sense and what we’ve already seen in the emerging smart watch market. For starters, a Google Smart Watch would probably run some version of Android, though it would likely be tailored to a smaller screen and have other special apps and features geared towards a watch.
Additionally Google’s SmartWatch would likely play nicely with Android handsets and tablets while doing normal “smart watch things” like syncing notifications, using apps, viewing messages and more. Keep in mind that all of this is speculation at this point.
Is this a viable product from a marketing perspective?
Based on Kickstarter success for the Pebble, which raised over $10 million in funding, interest in a wearable smart watch certainly does seem to exist. Additionally many other companies are building and exploring the idea of smart watches, and there is even a rumor out there that suggests Apple might be working on a watch concept of their own.
If Google can create a device that is uniquely designed, highly affordable and can play nicely with our other computing devices through technologies like the cloud, this could potentially be a hit for the company.
There will certainly be obstacles in making such a device appealing enough to merit spending hundreds of dollars, but some folks might find that a smart watch is a lot less obtrusive than donning a pair of smart glasses. Again, others will feel that wearing glasses is the better route. If nothing else, having both a smart watch and Google Glasses on the market will give consumers more choice when it comes to picking out a wearable device that works best for their individual needs.
What do you think think, should Google actively pursue the smart watch market or do you feel that this is a niche that will have limited long-term success?