Is a Google smartwatch just months away?
October 29, 2013
Smartwatches like the Samsung Galaxy Gear, Pebble, and Sony Smartwatch 2 give you some basic smartphone features on your wrist. But if you're waiting for the next batch of smartwatches that evolves the product even further, Google's will be one of the big ones to keep an eye on. A new report suggests we might not have long to wait on that front.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Google is nearing completion of its Android-powered smartwatch, and the device could be ready for full production "within months." That could potentially have 2014 marking Google's full-on assault of the budding wearable computing market. Google Glass is also expected to launch early next year.
Like Glass, the Google smartwatch will reportedly center around Google Now. If you aren't familiar with Google Now, it's the company's intelligent assistant featured on Android phones and tablets. Many originally saw Now as Google's answer to Siri, but it's since forged a distinct identity of its own. In addition to quick voice search functionality, it also scans your search history, emails, and other Google services activity to notify you of relevant info and predict things you might be interested in.
Google Now could potentially give the search giant an early advantage in the wearable computing race, as the context-sensitive, predictive nature of the service seems to hit exactly what people would want from smartwatches and smartglasses. We enjoyed our time with Samsung's Galaxy Gear, the most advanced smartwatch on the market today, but more capable and feature-rich virtual assistants like Google Now seem like the next logical step for smartwatches.
It isn't yet clear whether the Google smartwatch would be a standalone device, or require a constant smartphone connection, but the WSJ report seems to suggest the latter. It says the device "will be able to communicate with other devices such as a smartphone." Since Google Glass requires a smartphone for its on-the-go internet connection, it's possible we'll see something similar on this front.
Pricing ... and that other smartwatch
Pricing could be another factor to watch with the Google watch. If it follows the company's pattern with its Nexus 7 tablets and the Nexus 4 smartphone, we could see the device sold at cost, or for only a little profit. Google wants its software services to be the ones on your wrist (and face), so it can afford to forego hardware profits.
We could also see Apple's long-rumored iWatch next year, as CEO Tim Cook suggested in his last earnings call that we'll see new product categories from Apple in 2014. When discussing wearable computing, Cook had previously said he thinks the wrist is "interesting."
Source: Wall Street Journal
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