Google watch: release date, news and rumors
8th Apr 2014 | 09:13
All the latest on the Google smartwatch
Fresh from creating Google Glass, could Google now be turning its attention to a Google watch? We've heard that watches from Microsoft and HTC may also be forthcoming, while an Apple iWatch is also widely predicted.
Google's definitely staked its claim in the smartwatch domain with the launch of Android Wear, its custom OS designed for wearables, but that still leaves a question mark over the hardware.
Alongside the Android Wear announcement came the reveal of two smartwatches that will be showcasing the OS - the LG G Watch and the Moto 360. Both look pretty nice, and Moto's effort even looks very similar to some of the Google Watch concept pictures that people have been drawing up over the past few months.
But with these two leading the charge, how likely is it that we'll see Google 'do a Nexus' and put out its own home-grown watch?
Google watch release date
Android Police's Artem Russakovskii spoke about Google's watch in a Google+ post last year, telling us that the release date was set for October 31 2013. Of course, that turned out to be far too optimistic.
We do think that if Google does have its own smartwatch, it won't be too long before we see it. The Wall Street Journal recently reported that Google was "in talks" with various Asian suppliers about an Android smartwatch that could enter mass production "within months."
This could well have been the Moto 360 - or, indeed, Google's "Nexus" smartwatch.
Google watch design
A filing with the US Patent Office from early May 2013 showed a filing by Google for a "smart-watch with user interface features" - it sounds pretty clear to us what that might mean.
The watch displayed in the illustration has two touch pads on either side of the display face. The patent says that you'll be able to use these to "pinch, stretch and scroll on a platform with limited space available for user input." This could well mean that the watch will interact with Google Glass, too.
What we do know after the Android Wear announcement is that any Google watch will rely heavily on Google Now as it aims to be more of a useful personal assistant for the wrist than just an extension of the smartphone.
Google watch features
Sources previously claimed that Google Now will lie at the heart of Google's smartwatch. And after the Android Wear reveal, we can say that's pretty much guaranteed.
If so, this means we'll be talking to our Google watch - very Google Glass style, then - to check emails or see what the weather forecast holds. We expect this also means you'll need a phone that supports Google Now in order to take advantage of the features.
Other rumours have claimed that Google is hard at work to solve the ongoing problem of the smartwatch battery. Apparently it's looking at methods to reduce the power consumption so we won't be taking it off our wrists to charge quite as often.
Interestingly, the latest rumour on the Moto 360 is that it will have wireless charging - the "special sauce" Motorola has hinted at. Again, could it be that the source of this rumour mistook the Moto 360 for a Google-own smartwatch?
Google watch to be Motorola-built?
We'd also heard that the Google watch could be manufactured by Google subsidiary Motorola Mobility, but with Motorola now the property of Lenovo, and the fact that Motorola had also now shown off the Moto 360, we can probably dismiss those rumours.
However the same sources also state that the watch is "not a standalone device yet", claiming that it needs to be tethered to a smartphone to function properly. This part is much more believable given that Google Glass works much the same way.
Still, Motorola already has an exercise watch available, the Motoactiv, so there's a chance that Google looked to this for inspiration for the Google Gem.
Even more likely is that the Gem will take ideas from the Wimm One, an Android-powered smartwatch that offers both color and greyscale modes. Despite the watch not hitting big time when it launched, Google purchased the smartwatch company last year - the biggest hint yet that the Google Gem is coming.
Google watch name
As for the name of a Google watch, many are predicting that it could use the same name as Google's other wearable project, arriving as the Google Glass Watch. However this seems unlikely given that Google is probably looking to keep its watch a bit more consumer-friendly.
Android Police's Artem Russakovskii wrote on Google+ that the watch currently existed under the name of "Google Gem". While the final name will probably be something different, we have to say we're warming to Gem.
Rumors also continue to abound that Google will launch its own retail stores, although it will take some time to rival the all-conquering Apple Stores, of course.
The stores would enable consumers to get face-on with Google Glass as well as Android phones and, potentially, the Google watch itself.