Google reportedly set to unveil its own smartwatch

Codenamed Gem, the watch is almost complete, according to 9to5Google. But could even Google liven up a market that has yet to truly take off?

Google may join Fitbit Force, Pebble, and Samsung Galaxy Gear (l-r) in trying to earn a spot on your wrist.
Google may join Fitbit Force, Pebble, and Samsung Galaxy Gear (l-r) in trying to earn a spot on your wrist. Sarah Tew/CNET

The search giant may be the next major player to enter the smartwatch market.

A Google smartwatch is just about finished, 9to5Google said Monday, citing information from an anonymous source. Assuming 9to5Google's source is accurate, Google Now may be at the forefront of the new watch and tie in with your Android smartphone.

Google Now acts as your virtual personal assistant, offering answers to your questions and displaying information relevant to you. The same e-mails, appointments, directions, and other data that appear on your smartphone would then be directed to your smartwatch. Google is also trying to equip the watch with a longer battery charge and Bluetooth 4.0 support, 9to5Google added.

This latest tidbit follows a recent report from Android Police writer Artem Russakovskii claiming that Google will announce a Nexus watch codenamed Gem on October 31.

One key question: Can Google liven up a market that has yet to truly take off? Despite consumer awareness of smartwatches, ownership is still fairly low , according to a recent survey from On Device Research and CCS Insight. The poll also found that 40 percent of smartwatch owners stop using them because they forget about them or get bored with the technology.

One drawback is that today's smartwatches need to operate in tandem with smartphones, meaning people have to juggle and switch between both devices. Based on the scoop from 9to5Google, Google's smartwatch would work the same way. Another limitation, recently expressed by Sony CEO Kazuo Hirai, is that smartwatch technology is constrained by how big a watch people are willing to wear .

Google does have a knack for thriving in innovative, new markets. But if the smartwatch reports are true, Google will have to tackle the same challenges faced by other companies in trying to create a device that people won't ditch after awhile.

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About the author

Journalist, software trainer, and Web developer Lance Whitney writes columns and reviews for CNET, Computer Shopper, Microsoft TechNet, and other technology sites. His first book, "Windows 8 Five Minutes at a Time," was published by Wiley & Sons in November 2012.

 

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