23
Feb
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Love it or hate it, the smartwatch is a category that seemingly every manufacturer still wants to conquer. No matter how many devices debut, and no matter how they perform, it seems there are those companies who still think that they have the right solution. According to TechCrunch, @evleaks, and others, Google is one such company, and plans to debut its own smartwatch before or during this year's Google I/O conference.

What's more, the watch is rumored (by TechCrunch and other sources) to be manufactured by LG. While many posited before that the watch would be made by Motorola (we've seen a Motorola prototype), LG manufacturing the device wouldn't be a total surprise. After all, LG and Google have by all appearances worked well together on two handsets, and it was just last month that Google's CFO, Patrick Pichette called the LG-made Nexus 5 a "very strong" performer.

This isn't the first time we've heard wind of Google working on a smartwatch, either. A patent was granted to Google in late 2012, and in March of last year we heard further rumors of a watch being developed by Google's Android team. The Wall Street Journal re-upped the rumor in June of 2013, adding that Google may be working on a video game console and a new Nexus Q.

TechCrunch's sources (the unflappable "people familiar with the matter") confirm that designers from the Android team are involved, and say that the watch "is "officially" expected to begin shipping in mid to late March," though there are concerns over the product's completeness, leading some to believe the release will be pushed back to June, or that the watch will ship with an incomplete feature set, gradually expanding its capabilities with future updates.

As for the device's looks? PFWTM say an early prototype had a metal band and square face, while the interface featured a gradient-based live wallpaper that gently cycled through colors. TC's sources say that now, however, there is rumor that the watch will ship with a plastic band in its initial release. As you'd expect, the interface is said to be gesture- and tap-driven. Of course Google Now may feature prominently on the device, and - like Google's other wearable - the watch will seek to preclude users checking their phones for notifications and other simple interactions.

Interestingly, @evleaks tweeted that the watch would "apparently" launch at Google I/O. With Google I/O taking off in late June, this would match up with the rumor that the watch's availability will be pushed back.

Of course, all of this is still a rumor. What we can say for sure is that at some point Google was working on a smartwatch, and that recent rumors suggest that watch is nearing completion. It may or may not launch soon, but it at least appears to be making forward progress. Unfortunately, though, it looks like that flip-up viewfinder is on the cutting room floor.

For TechCrunch's full story, hit the source link below.

Source: TechCrunch

Liam Spradlin
Liam loves Android, design, user experience, and travel. He doesn't love ill-proportioned letter forms, advertisements made entirely of stock photography, and writing biographical snippets.

  • Justin W

    Wasn't this just rumoured to be made by HTC?

    • http://AndroidPolice.com/ Liam Spradlin

      To my knowledge, the HTC smart watch was rumored to center on Google Now, but wouldn't be a Google product.

      • Justin W

        Ah, that makes sense. I'm actually kind of excited to see these two products. HTC's got good build quality that I hope they bring into their Smartwatches, and the LG one designed by Google.. It'll be a good year for smartwatches, I think.

  • usaff22

    I hope the whole interface isn't based around Google Now, since Google Now doesn't do much in other countries. Hope it's a slimmed down but still very functional version of KitKat (unlike Glass which runs ICS or JB, can't remember)

    • Daniel

      Well, they are improving. In Spain now it shows the schedules of nearby cinemas xD

      • mesmorino

        On the other hand, in Google Maps you still cannot cache Barcelona for offline viewing

    • dogulas

      What makes you think this will be released outside of the U.S. any time soon? When does that ever happen from the start of any Google product?

      • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

        They have to, if they want this to be competitive and popular enough. But somehow Google just doesn't want to or simply doesn't care for countries that don't have selected services (Books, Movies, Music, US-exclusive Wallet, US and some EU-exclusive Play Devices) yet and it is unknown when they will, IF they will

  • Sam Del Valle

    My wallet (and body) is ready

    • Casin

      Maybe the watch will BE the wallet. NFC payments with host card emulation and no carrier control, all for the low cost generally expected from Google devices.

  • mesmorino

    Google is probably the one company that I would say doesn't have the right solution, whatever they think it is.

    • http://AndroidPolice.com/ Liam Spradlin

      Just out of curiosity what, in your opinion, makes Google particularly less prone to finding the right fit for smart watches? I personally have maybe a 40% expectation that they'd actually get it right, but I don't find them particularly unlikely among current options.

      • mesmorino

        It's not anything in particular they've done or are doing, it's just a sort of feel for the mentality behind the things they do- Taking G+ or Google glass as an example, a google smartwatch would be something of a technical marvel that was significantly divorced from reality, with few to no practical uses and marketed and sold to their cheerleaders who would then parrot it as the best thing since actual watches while the rest of the world wondered what all the fuss was about. Oh yeah, it would also be released and marketed as a finished product, while also carrying the infamous "beta" tag, and let's not forget the limited, region specific release, complete with limited, region specific functionality.

        By no means am I saying that other companies have the right idea, or that they'll be leaps and bounds ahead of Google, but in contrast, Samsung's out to make money- Their smartwatch can be used the world over, as long as you have one of their phones. No fancy schmancy supercoolxtremeultralegit gimmicks (you'd be surprised how rarely Google Now understands me when I say "Ok Google"), just something that works reasonably well (admittedly, not without its own problems).

        Google just seems to me to have a higher priority on being cool and hip and trendy, and if I was giving other companies about a 40% chance of getting it right, I'd give Google around 20-25%

        • Matthew Fry

          I don't disagree with some of your points. Google has a habit of releasing their products early and they have a tendency to lose interest before it's complete. If they are on a deadline against Apple, then they are going to release a prototype. I'm not interested in the v1 of anything Google after getting burned on the Nexus 10.

          Google's MO appears to be muscling a product into the market enough to get noticed and then improved on by others while they position themselves in a way to profit from it.

  • Craig Nelson

    Google is the only company other than Apple I think will get the smart watch formula right. especially for Android phones.

    • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

      Let alone the fact that it would work with all the devices, unlike Sammy's Galaxy Gear or Sony's SmartWatch

  • whoa

    Any chance you can say anything else on this Motorola prototype?

    • http://AndroidPolice.com/ Liam Spradlin

      I hate to be a tease, but unfortunately we can't say any more about it right now. Just that we have in fact seen it.

      • Alan Shearer

        Did they con you into signing a NDA? blah break it, those are old timey anyway :). Tell your legal to shove it :P

  • Greek_Ice

    I think I'll pass on first gen Glass, but I'm all in on a watch (granted the price is sensible).

    • http://AndroidPolice.com/ Liam Spradlin

      Honestly I think the watch will come out long before Glass v1. Right now I'd say Glass is on generation 0.6 or so. I am interested to see how Google executes this. I want a smartwatch to work, and if they can pull off something that looks compelling I'd pick it up.

      • http://rayshq.com/ Ray

        I've been wanting a smart watch myself but have been patiently waiting to see if Google will release something. This kind of news is very interesting. I'm hoping they do a good job of it. If they don't announce anything at I/O or sooner, I think I may just purchase one of the new Galaxy Gear watches.

        Not at all interested in Glass.

  • remister

    Google is really sticking with LG huh

  • mustbepbs

    LG? No thanks.

    • http://www.thepixelpuse.com/ Aj Meadows

      Not a fan of the Nexus 4 or Nexus 5?

      • mustbepbs

        Not a fan of LG and their update policies, as well as their QA with their G Pad.

  • Tyler

    Google's smart watch I think will use the Glass interface and operate in a very similar manner. That's my prediction.

  • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

    I want it to be named "Nexus W", where the W would stand for Watch

    • https://play.google.com/store/apps/developer?id=iWizard Bikram Agarwal

      W is a little difficult sound to produce, specially after "Nexus". 4, 5, 7, 10, Q all are one syllables. But W is 2. So, I don't think they'll go with Nexus W.

      • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

        Hmm, good point. But Google's services aren't sometimes easy to pronounce either, and Nexuses are one of them

      • Ryan Steddy

        Surely W is 3 syllables?

        Dub-ball-you...

      • Philip Leaper

        W is 3, and 7 is 2.

  • morteum

    After seeing how great the Pebble Steel looks I'm probably not going to get the Google watch. They would need to make an actually nice looking watch with subtle features intended to compliment the phone (ie- not Samsung Gear) in order for me to get it, also plenty of Google Now integration (which I expect).

  • MeCampbell30

    I would like to see a smartwatch that is basically a BT transmitter and a screen. The phone runs the apps and the watch merely "mirrors" or extends the display and sends inputs to the phone.

    I wonder if that would increase battery life and allow for a slimmer device.

  • Matt

    This Google watch better be standalone. If it is any good, or even better than the Omate smartwatch, I'll get it!
    Because realistically, I think if smartwatches are just as powerful enough, we don't have to lug around a phone and tablet. We can just lug around a smartwatch and tablet.

  • Johnny Bravo

    ive waited this long to get a pebble. i might as well wait a bit longer and see what google has in store

  • Bob Hart

    IMO,useless hardware.

    Haven't worn a watch in years and don't intend on doing it ever again.

    On the other hand Glass seems the way to go as a stand alone device.

    Watches,newspapers and other printed publications are obsolete.

  • http://trapchan.blogspot.com trapchan

    Google stealing again ...

  • DMR

    As for the Google smartwatch, why the assumption that it will work for all Android devices? It could be the case that Google will leave cross-compatibility to the Pebble line and make smartwatches for its Nexus line.

  • Foreigner

    Yeah, releasing in America soon, and the rest of the world in a decade. Shove your watch up your a**, Google.