Google is putting the finishing touches to a smartwatch that could be unveiled ‘within weeks’, according to industry insiders. The watch, believed to be codenamed Gem, could take advantage of the work Google has been doing on its Glass wearable computer. It could also use the same Google Now alerts for directions and text messages as the eyewear.
In August, it was revealed the firm bought a company called WIMM, which makes a watch that runs on Google’s Android software. It syncs with a smartphone and can show the phone’s notifications on its fixed screen. The WIMM One comes with pre-installed Micro Apps, including a calendar that syncs with Google and Exchange, weather, timer, stopwatch, world clock, and alarm clock.
‘Google could put a lot of the functionality of Google Glass in the watch product,’ claims Seth Weintraub of the 9to5Google website.
‘Push a button, ask a question, get a response as the watch talks to the Now-enabled smartphone.
‘Also, the ‘serendipitous’ information that Google Now shows you on your phone could come up in the watch.
‘Time to get home, Calendar alarms, emails, SMSes, etc. all could get pushed to the watch’s display.’
Juniper research says the market will be huge for wearables, and grow by about 14 times – to $19 billion – by 2018, and claims smartwatches will be the big winners, with 36 million in global shipments by 2018.
About a million will be shipped this year after both Sony and Samsung launched new watches. Apple is believed to also be preparing a watch, although it is not expected to reveal it until next year.
However some experts believe it may be too early to launch a smartwatch.
Tim Ryan of legal firm Davenport Lyons, said ‘Given the potential market and the rapid advances in technology, it’s likely that the early adopters will be disappointed at how quickly their new devices are replaced or become redundant.’
He also believe app makers could be crippled by the small screens needed to fit the gadget on a wrist.
‘Even though the technology is very impressive, and will get more so, there is still the issue of physical size and physical constraint, particularly with screen size,’ he added.