Google watch: release date, news and rumors
3rd Feb 2014 | 10:13
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.
Oddly, rumors on Google's wrist wearable have been less frequent, but we've certainly got enough to start putting the puzzle together.
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 it's close though. 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." With the iWatch touted for a late 2014 release, we expect we'll also see the Google Gem arrive this year.
Google watch design
A filing with the US Patent Office from early May 2013 showed 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 mean it will interact with Google Glass.
It's possible that the watch will also rely on a Google Now-style use of information cards, and after word that the watch will integrate the personal assistant features of Google Now, it seems even more likely.
Google watch features
There's obviously a big question around what kind of operating system the Google smartwatch will be running. Right now it's all guess work, but the fact that the big Google Watch reveal is happening after the Android 4.4 KitKat launch, we reckon it will be lifting a lot of the tasty new Android features.
One thing that the Google smartwatch is rumored to be going big on is Google now, which some sources reckon will lie at the heart of the watch.
If so, this means we could 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 watch's core features.
A recent report claims 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.
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, we can probably dismiss those rumors.
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 could well 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.