Google also now rumored to be working on an Android smart watch

Google now also rumored to be working on a smart watch

In the wake of speculation surrounding the rumored Apple iWatch, not only is Samsung reportedly racing to get a competitor to market, but Google may be as well. According to Financial Times, their sources say it would be different than Google's officially announced Glass project:

While Glass is being created in its X Lab, home to experimental “moonshot” projects such as the self-driving car, Google’s smart watch is being developed by its Android unit, according to a person briefed on the project, to act as an extension to the smartphones using that operating system. The project is separate from Samsung’s efforts, the source said, although there is no indication of when it might launch.

Android Central's Andrew Martonik adds:

We have to think that Google would want to get Glass out into the market first before trying to reinvent mobile computing once again. but Google is certainly capable of running multiple projects at once.

People might be hesitant to attach a device right to their face, but a lot of people already wear watches, which might make potential users more comfortable with the idea of wearing a device in the first place. Also, Google now owns Motorola, who previously launched the last-generation iPod nano-like MOTOACTV smart watch (see image, above), so there's some in-hourse experience to draw from.

One thing's for certain, like with tablet news before the iPad launched, even the rumor of Apple's interest in a new market is enough to stir up excitement and get competitors moving. And why not, Apple's been hugely successful at identifying music players, phones, and tablets as opportunities in the past. Who'd want to get caught flat footed for a second, third, or fourth time?

Anyone here think, come 2014, we'll be seeing a smart watch battle between Apple, Samsung, and Google to match the smartphone battle today -- iWatch vs. Galaxy Watch vs. Nexus Watch? And how long before Microsoft, Nokia, HTC, and BlackBerry get in on the as yet non-existant fun?

Source: Financial Times

Joseph Keller

Joseph Keller is a news reporter for iMore. He's also chilling out and having a sandwich.

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Reader comments

Google also now rumored to be working on an Android smart watch

39 Comments

Motorola didn't follow, but no news of any Samsung or Google watch cropped up until after the rumors of Apple's iWatch, so in essence they are following, but they are following rumors.
I personally don't see what the deal is, let the competitors make like devices, that's how competition works, it's fun.

I hope there is a large market for a smart watch. I personally can't stand wrist watches. So, unless this watch is all mission impossible and shoots lasers and stuff, I probably won't get one. Now if it were a pocket watch, I could maybe work it into my wardrobe.

"but it was done first on Android"

"Smart watches" aren't a new concept and weren't first done on Android. Aren't new as in decades old idea with waves of popularity here and there.

For one reason or another, a wristband computer is back in vogue, well the rumors of them, and every major company is preparing or spending more money on it.

I had a calculator watch as a kid!

MOTOACTV is actually mentioned in the article, though arguably that was a reaction to the iPod nano, not a market exploration.

Apple very, very rarely does anything first, but rumors of what Apple might do also arguably result in competing noise.

Absolutely - people do copy Apple, not necessarily because Apple invented any given technology, but because Apple has shown keen insight as to what technologies (home grown or not) will resonate with customers. Competitors definitely pay attention to Apple's moves, because no other company has come close in the past 10 years to their track record predicting (and executing, both engineering and design) the Next Big Thing.

ummm, no.

1. Kickstarter's "Pebble Smartwatch," -- Launched April 2012 and
proceeded to break every single KS funding record. Released January
2013.
2. Sony Smartwatch -- released September 2012.
3. WIMM One (from WIMM Labs) -- Announced August 2011
4. Fossil Meta Watch -- announced May 2011 (for developers only).
5. Allerta's inPulse Watch for Blackberry -- first seen in October 2009.
6. I'm Watch -- made in Italy, first announced at CES 2012.
7. Sony Ericson Liveview -- First announced September 2010
8. Samsung GT-S1100 touchscreen watch -- MWC, February 2009
9. Samsung S9110 touchscreen watch-phone -- July 2009.

It will be interesting to see the "screen size" wars when they all produce their smart-watches. I can picture it now: "Apple's iWatch sucks. It's only 1.5" in diameter! The Samsung Galaxy Watch has a 3" Super AMOLED screen. It's much better."

My current watch is roughly 1.6" in diameter. Given the size of my wrists, I honestly don't want anything wider than that... ever.

That said, flexible display technology might work to curve/stretch the screens lengthwise along the strap... that might work.

I hope these watch ideas include something waterproof and durable. That's the only thing I am worried about when I use my Nano as a watch.

You honestly think Apple came up with the idea of the smart watch? There are Google patents dating back to October 2011 (way before the iWatch rumours started) describing smart watch concepts so Google clearly has been researching/pondering the concept of a smart watch for a while as well, just like many other companies some of whom already launched smart watches.

Neither is Apple necessarily copying anyone here. As it often happens companies simultaneously start considering concepts when the technology to accomplish it successfully becomes available and affordable. It's called simultaneous development.

Btw: just because the first rumors of a new generation of smart watches were about Apple's watch it doesn't mean that it is also the case that Apple was the first to start development on it. Rumors are not a reliable source to base yourself on for determining who started the development first.

What if Apple started the rumor of them building a smartwatch so they could watch every other company rush to push something out. That would be funny stuff there.

I could definitely see a watch war happen in the near future. I feel like lately separate devices/accessories are the next big thing to enhance our mobile experience.

everyone needs to stop making smart watches, they are useless. if you want to check your messages or emails or notifications just take out your phone

After getting a smart phone, my watch died. I took a while to replace it... I was just busy at the time. By the time I did get another watch, I wore it for a few days then took it off. I haven't worn it since. I used to always wear one. Now I just don't see the point.

Watches have become pointless now that you can view any time/timezone/timer on your phone. The only thing they are good for nowadays is a fashion. Return the working watch and just wear the dead one, no one will ever notice. lol

if someone don't like new technology just don't buy it but don't be negative about it because these companies are working hard, 10 years ago we didn't have smart phone, smart tv etc.., with technology Apple change the way people use their phone, when apple lunch the ipad some people didn't think we need ipad because it was just a big iphone now apple sold millions of them, technology is going to change the world, I sent text and make call from my Google tv, I downloaded 3D movies in my note 2 phone and stream it to my Google tv, if I'm using my galaxy note 10.1 tablet and someone call my on my phone I don't have to leave my tablet to pick up the phone, I just answer the phone call on my tablet, technology make my life easy, I will buy a smart watch and a Google glasses and I believe people all over the world will buy them too

This makes far more sense for Google to do this than Apple. I can totally see this watch being essential to Google Glass far more than a smartphone. I look forward to how they make these two technologies blend.

Great, an Iwatch which is IOS and a Watch that is Android! Great and Stronger Glass Should be Used! How About a Watch which support Call and a SmartPhone - Watch! Be Decorated with Gold, Silver, Diamonds, Gem or Normal Leather! Technology is Going High!

Apple rumoured to be doing something.... wait a few days... Google rumoured to be doing same thing... Surprise?

I don't wear watches, but if something that was slim and stayed connected to my phone with deep integration then I would start using one just so when I am busy I can see who is calling and anything that is important enough to stop what I am doing and take care of it.

i find it interesting how even with just a rumor of apple doing something every one else trys again or starts a project similar every one looks to apple for guidence

I'm glad that Apple doesn't have to be first to be market with any product. I'm not convinced at this point that a watch device would be a winner. If anyone can do it, it would be Apple though.