Rumors Say the Google Smartwatch Is Actually Almost Ready

Google Now integration makes sense, but other details are scarce.

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There’s a good chance that Google will release a smartwatch in the future, but according to a couple of reports, the release date might be closer than we anticipated.

Here’s Seth Weintraub at 9to5Google:

I recently heard word that Google was putting the finishing touches on a Watch product. Details are slim but the person seemed to think that Google Now functionality would be at the center of the product.

Google is focusing on longer battery life and Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity. There was no word on the type of sensors and health monitoring functionality that Apple is rumored to be working on.

My source also seemed to think “sooner rather than later.”

Weintraub also relayed a report by Artem Russakovskii of Android Police, who posted some details on Google+ earlier this month:

Google will announce a Nexus watch, codenamed Gem, likely together with the KitKat announcement. The date I have, which, once again, is about a month old, is also October 31st.

If Google is about to announce a smartwatch, it’s been a well-kept secret. Usually before a high-profile product launch, we’re overwhelmed with unconfirmed details. That’s certainly been the case with Google’s Nexus 5 smartphone, which should be announced soon. Aside from the two above reports and an off-hand mention by the Wall Street Journal in June, details have been non-existent. That’s one reason to be skeptical.

Then again, Google did acquire WIMM Labs during the summer of 2012 — a fact that was only revealed a couple months ago. WIMM had produced an Android smartwatch of its own, notable for its ability to switch between full color and battery-saving grayscale modes. The acquisition could have given Google an early jump on building its own watch, one that isn’t as power-hungry as Samsung’s Galaxy Gear.

Meanwhile, Google Now has become a more capable virtual assistant over the last year. Google has steadily added new features, such as public transit cards, reminders and boarding passes. Having that kind of information on your wrist makes a lot of sense, as long as the hardware is lightweight, low-powered and not too expensive. We’ll see what happens.