The war for smartwatches may be reaching a high point this year with both Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) and Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) are respectively planning to release a version of smartwatch later this year. The Samsung Galaxy Gear smartwatch, which released in 2013 and run on android operating system, was the first major entry in the smartwatch market and this year more are likely to debut from Microsoft, Google, HTC and Apple. Google is aiming to grab a share of the global smartwatch industry, which was worth USD 700 million in 2013 and is likely to grow to at least USD 2.5 billion this year. In the coming years the industry will keep growing at 3 digit rates.
The Google SmartWatch
Following two successful partnerships with LG for both Nexus 4 and 5, Google will create a new version of Nexus with LG to be released either in July this year. The Nexus 6 will reportedly but alongside the Google smartwatch, rumoured to be named ‘Nexus Gem’ or ‘Google Gem’.
Features we can expect to see
Google will use its knowledge base, Google+, hangouts and other services to access information online and interact with people you know. While the Google glass was not welcomed due to its cyborg like interface and other privacy concerns, a smartwatch might just change people’s opinion. According to WSJ, It might feature a 640px X 360px screen, just like glass which is a high resolution, and most likely be square in shape rather than rectangular. It would also feature a 5 megapixel camera for recording pictures at 720px.
If you want to take a picture simply hold up your arm so that your palm was facing you and say ‘OK watch, take a picture’. To take a selfie or video hangouts simply face the palm outward.
The watch would not only support Bluetooth but also WiFi, it will have 16GB of storage and at least 700 MB of RAM. A light sensor for dimming or brightening the phone, a tiny speaker or ear bud and a vibration feature to buzz you when you receive an alert are some nifty features we could expect to see.
The best part of a Google smartwatch would be unleashing its knowledge base whenever you needed it, like alerting you for incoming texts and caller id information for incoming calls. Imagine touching the screen and asking ‘OK watch: How late is subway open?’ and the answer will come to you. Or receiving directions turn by turn, setting reminders, appointments, and sending texts and emails.
For now sales of smart watch haven’t been impressive due to complaints of bulk, lack of functionality and often work as simple fashion accessories. It remains to be seem if Google can fix some of these issues and change the market attitude towards smartwatches.
The question remains though: Who will make the smart watch and what software will it use?
Initially, it was rumored that Motorola would make the Google smartwatch but after Motorola’s acquisition by Lenovo Google may have to look elsewhere. The watch may be just an accessory or an additive to an Android phone rather than a standard wearable device that users might buy. Wimm one,a smart watchmaker was purchased by the giant last year is perhaps the biggest indication that the Google smartwatch is coming.
The device could run on latest Android 4.4 KitKat or a software similar to what is available on Google now and be heavily dependent on gestures.
So why would you use a Google smartwatch?
The reason this could be the best smart watch ever made is simply because of the relative quality of Google services versus competing services. No other watchmaker, including LG, Microsoft or other start ups, can match Google now. Think about it as a service platform for wearable computing, Google Glass and Google Watch are the first two devices on this platform.
The watch will most likely tap into the same back end service and functionality being built for google glass and offer same benefits. A screen on your watch may not be as immediate as a screen aimed at your eyeball. But it would be for everybody who loves Google Glass but are not prepared to wear it in front of their faces.
The date to mark on the calendar is June 25-26 when Google holds it I/O conference and we are likely to hear some, or all, of these products.
If Google can successfully pull this off, it could signal the arrival of smartwatch that move beyond its basic value of showing snippets of text and email. The smart watch could move from being a niche product to an object of everyday use loved by both tech geeks and general public. A combination of Google Now and some hardware is perhaps all it takes to make the smartwatch a super intimate device that’s on you rather than with you.
So what would you prefer, Google Smartwatch or Google Glass? Do let us know by making use of comment section below.