All this time our attention has been focused on a possible iWatch coming out of Cupertino, but it appears Google also has every intention of releasing a smartwatch of its own. This isn’t a new rumor per se, but with wearables primed to really take off in 2014, the news is significant. Samsung, Pebble and a few others are already making their claim to the smartwatch throne. But the prospect of a Google wearable, one possibly tied directly into Google Now, is pretty appealing.
According to new info from TechCrunch, Google’s smartwatch is being headed by designers from the Android team, and is being firmly viewed as an accessory, and not something that’ll mimic the functionality of a smartphone. That is to say, it’ll rely on an Android phone, and won’t be marketed as a device on its own. It sounds more in line with Pebble’s philosophy, but with Google’s own spin of always-listening technology.
Prototypes are supposedly being bandied about in a Google building, though designs haven’t been finalized. Sources claim an early design looked more like a Pebble Steel, with a square face and colorful display. “It also seemed to have a more masculine vibe,” TechCrunch said. Members of the development team are apparently targeting a late March launch, though setbacks could push an official debut back to June; either that or the watch could be released with “a smaller feature set than originally intended.”
That would be hugely disappointing if Google launched an unfinished device, though we’ve seen it happen before (ahem, Nexus Q). TechCrunch claims that despite the smartwatch being developed for many months, it might not yet be capable of supporting third-party apps at launch. However, future updates would enable the watch’s full potential—that certainly doesn’t sound too promising for early adopters.
Samsung just got done introducing its own new smartwatches at Mobile World Congress, but attention might be diverted to Google if the search giant is indeed prepping a wearable—and it could certainly pull attention away from the fact that Samsung ditched Android for Tizen. Google has an I/O event scheduled in June, so perhaps that’s when we’ll see the supposed wearable officially unveiled. The wearable market is well and truly on.